Ithaca, N.Y. — The owners of the building housing Simeon’s on the Commons intend to restore the structure, and the owners of Simeon’s intend to reopen their popular restaurant in the same location.
Beyond those intentions, though, dates, dollar figures and definite decisions are the devils in the details that still need to be worked out, according to the property manager and one of the restaurant owners.
“It’s our intention to return to business at that location,” Simeon’s co-owner Richard Avery said Wednesday. However, there remain more than “a few moving parts to make that happen.”
Likewise, the building’s owners, the Shen family, “certainly” intend to restore the building, said Jerry Dietz, president of C.S.P. Management, which represents the family for the property. But, he was quick to add, “None of this is final. It’s very, very preliminary.”
Dietz said the chief task at the moment is “sorting out insurance issues, and what the owners’ tolerance is for adding funds.”
Neither Dietz nor Avery would venture an estimate of the cost of damages from the June 20 tractor trailer crash into the building. “It is not an inconsequential sum,” Dietz said.
The crash killed a Simeon’s employee, Amanda Bush, who was pregnant and engaged to marry, and demolished the front section of the four-story building.
Asked how Simeon’s workers were doing, Avery said, “Things are going pretty well. We’re healing each day from the wounds of losing a co-worker.” Both he and Dietz expressed deep appreciation for the way the people in town have rallied around those affected by the crash.
“It’s a remarkable commentary on this community,” Dietz said.
“No one was left without paychecks” immediately, Avery said. Simeon’s had a work-interruption insurance policy, enabling the business to continue paying employees for a short time.
“Most of the people got paid in full for 60 days,” he said. “Certain people have already found other work.” Management staff will be paid a little longer.
Both men said it will take the next few months for insurance issues to be settled; other decisions will hinge on those outcomes.
“It’s a slow moving process,” Avery said.
Immediately after the crash, there was concern about the structural integrity of the building. Now the city has deemed it sound. “I don’t think there’s any indication that there’s a need to demolish any more of the building than what’s been taken down,” Dietz said.
Once the insurance and money questions are settled, the rebuilding can begin.