Cora forced to relocate after fire

What was initially thought to be a brief renovation has turned into much more.

Owners of Kelowna's Cora Restaurant say they will re-open in a new location after fire destroyed the restaurant and several other buildings in Burtch Plaza Nov. 26 of last year.

Originally, restaurant owner Pam MacPhee, stated Cora was 'remarkably lucky,' and believed she would be able to re-open within a few weeks of the fire.

"Unfortunately through the process of their (fire department) investigations and their estimations and all the work that has to be done it was deemed the restaurant can't be saved," says MacPhee.

"Because of that they are going to have to demolish it, which brings us a lot of sadness for what has been lost. At the same time we are actively looking for another location and we are getting pretty close to having an announcement for where we are going to relocate."

MacPhee says the restaurant didn't appear to be as damaged as it was at the time of the fire.

"When it came down to it small parts of the entire roof had been burned which wasn't really apparent. We did not see this coming," says MacPhee.

"My understanding is the roof needed to be replaced. In order to replace the roof they would need to take it off and that was the point where it didn't become feasible to do that and save the structure. That's what took so long because there was a lot of effort made to try and save it."

She says they are mulling over a few options with regard to taking over an existing business or building from scratch on a new location.

"We are looking at some of the more popular sections of Kelowna."

MacPhee says she hopes to have the restaurant open again the latter half of this year.

According to complex property manager Shirley Mehus with Coldwell Banker, plans have been drawn up for reconstruction of the portion of the plaza destroyed in the fire.

Mehus says demolition of the remaining portion of Cora and reconstruction will occur sometime in April.

She says Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza will be moving back into the plaza once reconstruction is complete, likely in late summer or early fall.

Color Me Mine is relocating to Commerce Avenue in April while Eco Water will be relocating to Enterprise Way while Soccer Express has already moved into a new location in Enterprise.

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