NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) – Businesses in downtown New Albany are already feeling the heat following a fire that destroyed a building of a brand new apartment complex.

The Breakwater Apartments were schedule to begin occupancy in March but a fire destroyed one of the complex’s buildings and severely damaged another.

Businesses within walking distance of fire on Spring Street are already feeling the impact financially.

“It completely shut down our business yesterday,” said Steve Powell, owner of Taco Steve, which is across the street from the Breakwater.

Ross Wallace owns HIM, a menswear store only a block away from the fire. HIM opened for business in November and Wallace was excited to see a possible increase in foot traffic from those living at the Breakwater – something he knows is now on hold.

“It’s definitely worth waiting because we are excited for all the support they are going to be giving us all of our local downtown businesses,” Wallace said.

Management officials tell WDRB the destroyed building could take up to a year to fully rebuild and a couple of months to restore units in the damaged building.

Sunday morning, fire crews began demolishing what was left of the initial building in order to make it safer to monitor any possible hot spots.

A sprinkler system was installed but had not been activated yet because no one was living at the complex.

Investigators still do not have an exact cause for the fire.

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