News 12 First at Five/ Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Flames from an early morning blaze in January tore down walls more than 100 years old.
It took firefighters several hours to put out the fire of this historic apartment building on Broad Street.
The smoke hasn't cleared yet for everybody involved.
"We are still dealing with the effects and aftermath of the fire with the numerous moves and reconstruction," said business owner John Guanlao.
John Guanlao is the owner of Immaculate Ink Tattoo Shop. He had to move his business right after the fire, then moved back in and now he's moving again because of the demolition.
"All of our customers are loyal and stuck with us through our last few moves," Guanlao said.
Historic Augusta said the owner plans to build new downtown lofts in the place of the burned out building. The city gave the owner 90 days after the fire to come up with a plan for the space.
"He's planning for it to be lofts on the first and second floor, unless he finds a business," said Historic Augusta Director Erick Montgomery.
Montgomery says his office got involved to make sure this building wouldn't be an eyesore and affect other property values in the historic district.
"This was extremely important building. We needed to make sure that we held that corner and there wasn't a gaping hole," Montgomery said.
He says Downtown Augusta has enough empty storefronts and one this big could put a stop on city leaders progress for the area. As for Guanlao, he's temporarily opened shop across the street and he's hoping this is the last time he has to move.