Union Street Loses Historical Value From Fire

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The fire that devastated Union Street last Sunday has left some business owners wondering what will become of the buildings that have to be torn down. 

Andrew Lambala, The Union employee, said,"I just really hope its doesn't turn into apartments or something crappy because this street has been kind of its own little microcosm for so long." 

According to the Athens Historical Society, if any building in the district is 50 years or older, it becomes part of the Athens Historical District. Union St. will not only be losing business, they might also be losing the historical integrity of their buildings. 

The Athens Historical Society Director, Tom O'Grady, said, "They're part of an important historic district in Athens and to lose all of them is to take a major chunk out of the historic district in Athens."

According to Athens Insurance representatives, part of the restoration process includes having structural engineers come in to inspect the buildings and ensure the safety of the buildings. Owner of Athens Insurance Andy Vogt, remarked on how The Union could be restored, as it was not one the buildings most affected.

Vogt said, "The Kismet building does appear to be completely destroyed and I can't see where — I mean, if they would just have to go back and build it the way it was, but it's probably going to have to be torn down, no doubt about it."

So far, Jackie O's Pub has come the farthest in terms of restoration; the bar side of their business has already been opened for business. They hope to have the rest of their local open by December.