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ITHACA, N.Y. — Repair work at Simeon’s on the Commons started on Wednesday, 397 days after the building was destroyed in a fatal accident.

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Simeon’s owners have always said they wanted to rebuild and announced they were going through with construction in September.

Construction began Wednesday when crews inspected the structural integrity of the building.

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“Everyone I’ve spoken to is really excited and happy we’re finally started,” co-owner Dean Zervos said in an interview Thursday.

He said the owners have talked to some employees and got a warm reception from people on Facebook when they posted photos and announced the construction.

Repairs, he said, will begin near the front of the building where the truck hit and the owners are hopeful it will look similar to how it was before the crash.

He said the construction could be done in as little as eight months to a year, but it will depend on whether construction crews find any major problems while making repairs.

“We’re hoping, but we’re not exactly sure right now,” Zervos said.

See related: 1 year after Simeon’s crash kills mom, father says child is his savior

See related: The other side of the wall: Inside Titus Gallery when ‘everything changed’ in a second

Zervos and the other co-owner, Richard Avery, announced in September that they received documentation from the building owners that they too wanted to rebuild.

Avery said at the time, “We always thought it was 80-20; we were always being positive…but nothing was official yet.”

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.