Bruegger's will soon return to IC after 2011 fire

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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Despite several fits sand starts, bagels are finally on their way back to downtown Iowa City.

Officials with the 715 S. Riverside Drive Bruegger’s Bagels location said the downtown restaurant, rebuilt on the former Iowa Avenue location’s land, are targeting an Oct. 11 opening.

The pending opening date follows a nearly two-year absence for the establishment, once housed in a historic two-story structure at 225 Iowa Ave.

On the morning of Sept. 24, 2011, a fire started at the downtown Bruegger’s, before spreading to nearby buildings on Iowa Avenue and Linn Street; Takanami, Yacht Club, Studio 13, and AKAR suffered water and smoke damage.

The nearby historic Van Patten House, 9 S. Linn St., was demolished in January 2012.

Jeff Davidson, the director of the city’s Planning & Community Development Department, said despite the loss of a historic, well-known property, a number of benefits are clear.

“Even though we hated to see it burn down, no one was hurt, and this fits in with building codes and has improved safety,” he said.

While Davidson said its no secret downtown zoning would have allowed a much larger property, he said he is excited to see it rebuilt.

The it’s also comes among several months of delays.

Officials first told the DI the Bruegger’s would reopen in early January 2013, but that was later pushed to a date sometime in July.

Davidson said back-and-forth negotiations with the company were a primary reason for the delays, adding that the Burlington, Vt.-based chain originally wanted to construct a one-story building.

City building codes, however, require that any new downtown projects stand at least two stories tall.

Today, nearly 30 years after the first Bruegger’s opened, the company operates more than
300 Bruegger’s bakeries in 26 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.

— by Quentin Misiag

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