The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

April 29, 2014

BJ’s owner: A year to rebuild, recover

DANVILLE — The owner of BJ’s Steak and Rib House awaits a contractor to assess the damage to the popular eatery at 291 Mill St.

“We’re also waiting for an insurance adjuster,” owner Bob Kirkpatrick said Monday.

He said everything in the business has to be disposed of. “It’s all a total loss,” he said, including equipment inside.

Orange fencing around the front of the two-story building will remain during Saturday’s Spring Fling and until the building is torn down or rehabilitated.

An engineer will check bricks on top of the building to make sure everything is safe for the festival, he said.

“We are waiting for a contractor assessment of the damage before we start to move things out,” he said.

Kirkpatrick plans to relocate to a new building or rebuild probably at the same location.

“It might be a year,” he said of reopening or recovering from the devastating downtown Easter fire on April 20.

Some of the Danville restaurant employees are working at BJ’s location in Selinsgrove with the majority of the 45 employed at Danville drawing unemployment compensation and probably looking for other jobs, he said.

“We hope they will return to us,” he said.

Kirkpatrick doesn’t believe rehabilitation of the structure will be a possibility. “I seriously doubt it. I think everything is a total loss,” he said, from speaking with an insurance adjuster.

“We are anxious to open again in Danville. We have received so much positive feedback from customers on Facebook,” he said.

BJ’s opened in Danville in 1987. Kirkpatrick founded the Selinsgrove business in 1982.

The fire also affected tenants in the adjacent building housing Abigail’s Attic shop. Two sisters moved to an apartment across the street and another tenant has temporarily been displaced. Tenants in a third-floor apartment have another apartment where they can stay, according to building owner Michael Kuziak.

One-hundred-plus employees of the Geisinger Office Building, next to BJ’s, were kept from the building April 21 while crews cleared water and smoke from the structure.

The BJ’s building, dating to the late 1800s, was affected by a blaze that destroyed Scott’s Floral and Gifts in late March 2003. The floral business is now located along Route 11.

The Geisinger office building sits where Scott’s had been.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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