Saturday, November 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Empire Street building reborn after fire

27 new building 1

Brian Chikowski stands inside his office building along Empire and Webster Streets in Fairfield, Wednesday. Chikowski's new building reopened in March after it was torn down following a fire. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page B7 | April 27, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Brian Chikowski watched the night of Jan. 13, 2012 – a bad-luck Friday, if ever he had one – as his two-story Empire Professional Building near the downtown was gutted by fire.

He saw the building at 744 Empire St. engulfed in flames. He stood by as books owned by his law firm dating back to the late 1800s were destroyed. He watched as an office building with various tenants got reduced to four concrete walls and rubble.

“There’s nothing you can do,” Chikowski said.

But now the Empire Professional Building has been reborn. A few weeks ago, Chikowski saw the finished product.

“It’s exhilarating,” he said.

The old version of the building was constructed in the early 1960s, with Chikowski and Garry Rees buying it in 1992 at a time when they were already tenants there. One of its most distinctive features was ivy growing up the walls. For the most part, it was a no-nonsense structure, without architectural flourishes.

Chikowski and Rees didn’t simply clone what existed before, though they kept the cement walls that survived the fire. They went for a new look.

Now people entering the building step onto an imposing, two-story porch with columns. The building has Tuscan elements to it, a classical look, mirroring the redevelopment style done at the eastern entrance to the downtown, where Starbucks is located.

Inside the front doors are two chandeliers with 36 lights each. The chandeliers represent the latest in energy-saving illumination. Chikowski said it would be like having a couple of 100-watt light bulbs on in your house.

The suites each have such features as a break room and their own restrooms. Chikowski said he and Rees wanted the tenants to have what they wanted in their suites.

In the wake of the fire, Chikowski and Rees temporarily moved their law offices. First Northern Bank contacted them and had space upstairs in their building at 1455 Oliver Road. Chikowski said they reopened at the new location about 10 days after the blaze.

Then they began working with the insurance companies and city on rebuilding the Empire Professional Building.

“Basically, we were forced to become developers by the virtue of our circumstance,” Chikowski said.

He praised the city. The planners were very helpful and made suggestions, Chikowski said.

He’s never learned the cause of the fire, Chikowski said. Investigators speculated that an electrical problem beneath the second floor might have sparked it, he said.

Tenants from the old Empire Professional Building moved on after the fire. A chiropractor, the American Red Cross and the rest have their offices in new locations.

Chikowski and Rees moved into the rebuilt building. So have a group of psychologists. But there is room for more.

Those interested in being a tenant in the building can call Chris Wallace with Premiere Commercial at 436-7300.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PSApril 27, 2014 - 9:11 am

    I am so glad they rebuilt, fond memories growing up working for my father at 744.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodApril 27, 2014 - 11:56 pm

    Marvelous reconstruction job and a gem downtown. Good luck with the "new beginning," gentlemen.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

US / World

House intel panel debunks many Benghazi theories

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

 
A look at how FDA-approved robotic leg braces work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Marine with robotic leg braces gets Bronze Star

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Oregon festival’s giant nutcracker: 41 feet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

San Francisco window washer falls onto moving car

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Zookeepers had safety concerns before gorilla died

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California storms bring scattered rain, mudslides

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Judge declares wrongly convicted woman innocent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

$139M deal reached in school molestation case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Agency rejects solar project in Silurian Valley

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Senate leader lays off dozens of office employees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
UC expands legal services for immigrant students

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Man pleads not guilty to emailing nudies of ex

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Stymied? Republicans seek immigration response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 5 Comments

LA animal shelter slashes prices on 100 pets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Iran nuke talks stalled, despite Kerry efforts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Biden urges Russia to uphold east Ukraine truce

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Police: 3-year-old set fire that killed his family

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

93-year-old woman marks 75 years with same company

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
UK police spied on reporters for years, docs show

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Agency: Schools helped Lanza’s mom ‘appease’ him

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bandits in Guinea steal suspected Ebola blood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

With snow still piled high, Buffalo faces flooding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoons: Nov. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Batson column falls short of truth

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 46 Comments

.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Nov. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My sister kicked Mom out of her house and won’t let her have the car

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

Blanket drive for homeless gets help from Colts player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

Bill Cosby show set for Vegas casino canceled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Matt Czuchry says ‘Good Wife’ arc is at right time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

‘Queen Latifah Show’ to end after its 2nd season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

.

Sports

Vacaville downs Del Oro to advance to section semis

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

 
Sparano savors 1st win with Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Ibanez, Cash, Wakamatsu finalists to manage Rays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Federal judge denies sports betting in New Jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

JC women’s basketball: Solano advances to tourney title game

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Ciganda, Granada tied for lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sharks trade Demers to Stars for Dillon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL will hear Adrian Peterson’s appeal Dec. 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers’ Dorsey is out of Sunday’s game against Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
France levels tie against Switzerland in Davis Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Toyota recalls nearly 423K Lexuses for fuel leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Ford’s new F-150 to get 26 mpg, tops among pickups

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment | Gallery

CEOs in 10 big mergers to get $430M: Equilar study

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
California unemployment unchanged at 7.3 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

White House: Immigration steps would boost wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 11/22/14

Ask a Designer: from clutter to decor

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for Nov. 22, 2014

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: HSR3

US 30-year mortgage rates drop to 3.99 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3