DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Thursday, March 31, 2016 started as a quiet night for Bill Richardson, until he got a call that a car had driven into the building he managed.
“I saw no good end to it,” said Richardson. “You know the destruction that happened. You had a car sitting inside your building and it’s not supposed to be there.”
The car drove right into, what was then, an empty part of the building that sits on the corner of Brady and Locust in Davenport, Iowa. The vehicle also damaged a portion of the neighboring space the held Chung Kim’s Black Belt Academy.
Richardson, also a senior instructor at Chung Kim’s, had been training and working in the building for almost 30 years. Seeing the car inside was overwhelming, but Richardson said he had support from many of the other instructors at Chung Kim’s.
The car was stuck in the building for a week, as inspectors tried to figure out how to get the vehicle out without part of the building collapsing. When the car was finally pulled out, thousands of dollars in damage was left.
Students had to take classes at Chung Kim’s Bettendorf location and the empty space needed to be completely redone. The rebuilding process meant the new tenant, who was scheduled to move in the day after the accident, had to wait.
Almost exactly six months later, Richardson stood and took pictures next to the building with an excited expression on his face.
Where the hole and cracks left by the car once were, now stands what looks like a completely different building. New windows in the front let the fall sunshine in and show off the new pink and purple walls inside.
Inside Chung Kim’s, there also stands a new wall, painted a shade of burnt orange.
“I go all the way back to 1977 when I started training in this building,” said Richardson. “I remember it then, and I remember the car, and I walk in today and I’m not even sure I’m in the same spot, you know the same universe. It’s just totally different and it’s exciting.”
After working with several insurance companies and contractors, the rebuilding process is almost finished. Inspectors did have the owner, the late Chung Kim’s wife, Soja Kim, make updates to some older parts of the building. But, Richardson says insurance handled much of the repair work. The repairs, according to Richardson, totaled around $45,000.
Students at Chung Kim’s were able to return to class in August of 2016 and finally, the empty space is ready to be filled.
The original tenant stuck out the six month wait and is getting a completely redone space to start a new business.
“We thought for sure they would say if it’s a month two months fine, but it has been six months now,” said Richardson. “They still are very excited about moving in.”
This means the area around the Hilltop neighborhood will soon get a new Mexican ice cream shop, Las Tarazcas Ice Cream Shop, owned by tenant, Magdalena Salas.
“When we got ready to do the paint I contacted her and this is the color she chose for the ice cream shop that she is bringing in here,” said Richardson. “Yeah she is very excited about finally getting to move in and getting the remodel done for her prep area and everything.”
There is still a portion of the back of the building that must be finished, but one look at the building and no one would ever guess a car was stuck there just a few months ago.
“Hopefully within another month or so she will be able [to be] up and running,” said Richardson.
The new business owner was not available for comment, but according to Richardson starting this business is a life-long dream.
For more on the accident that caused the damage the TV6’s original story can be found here: http://kwqc.com/2016/03/31/car-hits-building-in-davenport/