Stores to reopen

May 30, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

SOUTH ST.—A row of storefronts burned by an arsonist two years ago will be ready for business again in the next few weeks, according to owner Nick Skourtis.

Two of the burned-out businesses—Maria’s Hair Fashion and Felix Pizzeria—appear likely to return to 138-142 South St., Skourtis told the Gazette. He is also negotiating with at least one more interested business, he said.

In March, 2006, an unknown arsonist pried open a security grate on Maria’s Hair Fashion at the Boynton and South streets corner, poured in a flammable liquid and set the building ablaze. The arsonist fled in a Lexus, according to fire investigators. Five businesses were left homeless.

The fire was part of a wave of arsons around that time, including the apparent firebombings of Hyde Square’s El Oriental de Cuba restaurant and Centre Street’s Century 21 Pondside Realty.

No one has been charged in any of those cases. Skourtis said he has not heard from fire investigators in months.

Skourtis told the Gazette at the time of the fire that his South Street storefronts were underinsured. He has been slowly rehabbing them ever since.

While the basic renovation should be done soon, Skourtis said, it will take more time for business tenants to move in and set up shop.