Businesses Reopening in Tornado-Damaged Tuscaloosa

July 10, 2012

A tornado-damaged business district in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is rebuilding with a series of businesses slated to reopen this summer, The Tuscaloosa News reported Sunday.

photo credit: FEMA

Some business destroyed or seriously damaged by the April 27, 2011, tornado already have returned to this commercial corridor, including McDonald’s, Hardee’s and Boulevard Salon. More are set to open their doors in the coming weeks.

Full Moon BBQ is set for a July 23 opening, business co-owner David Maluff told the newspaper. The restaurant, near the corner of 15th Street and McFarland Boulevard, will replace a site in the Wood Square shopping center that was destroyed by the storm.

“We’re very excited to showcase it,” Maluff said.

A Japanese steakhouse called Hokkaido is under construction across the street from its pre-storm location. It will be about 1,000 square feet larger than its previous store. Developer Stan Pate is increasing parking space where a CVS Pharmacy is expected to return with a new 14,600-square-foot building by the end of the year. He said the larger parking lot meets city requirements and minimum standards set by CVS officials.

Pate has been critical of the city’s decisions affecting the tornado recovery zone, but he said he is encouraged by the business owners who have successfully navigated the rules.

“This is exciting to see,” he said.

John Carney, the owner of the Express Oil Change, which is being rebuilt at the corner of 15th Street and Dr. Edward Hillard Drive, has also criticized City Hall. He said the recovery plan creates unnecessary hurdles that have slowed building. He expects to have his business open by mid-August.

“I should’ve had it (back open) August a year ago,” Carney said.

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