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TV Towne rebuilding

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Construction has begun on TV Towne, which was destroyed by fire last August. The rebuilt store will hopefully be open in the next couple months, General Manager William Blondin said.

Cold weather, insurance and blueprint problems have delayed the reconstruction of TV Towne, which was gutted by fire last August.

But problems have been resolved, and framing has begun on the rebuild of the 1508 Yakima Valley Highway store. William Blondin, TV Towne general manager, said the building will be finished in six to eight weeks.

"That's our hope," said Blondin, who noted that construction isn't an exact science, but said he hopes to have the store open by no later than July.

Blondin said the plan to rebuild the store exactly as it was, was a result of the late owner, Eivan Berg's wish to see his stores look a certain way.

"There's a lot of sentimental value there," Blondin said.

He said Berg wanted his stores in Sunnyside, Walla Walla and Yakima built to look a certain way, even though it might have been less expensive to buy a different building and open in another location.

Blondin said damage to the building was close to $1.2 million. That included a lot of merchandise and a lot of the building itself.

He also said the business was fortunate that no one was injured in the fire despite the fact that several customers were inside at the time the blaze started.

"We were really lucky no one got hurt," he said.

Only the front facade and the foundation were salvageable, he said.

After the fire destroyed the building TV Towne began operating out of the east end of the old Kmart building in Sunnyside.

Blondin said business in that location has been OK, but all the construction in that area has made it difficult to do business.

"The previous spot was a great location," Blondin said.

It's especially frustrating to have to do business with all that construction after TV Towne itself had just been remodeled prior to the fire. But there's nothing that can be done about the construction, he said.

"You just have to live with it," Blondin said.

Blondin said the city of Sunnyside has been easy to work with in getting permits and allowing construction to proceed.

"The city has been great to work with," he said.

According to city building division data, the TV Towne construction is valued at $490,500.

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