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St. Paul business burned, looted in Minnesota riots

sport dome
NBC News Channel

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (NBC News) - Many business owners in the Twin Cities are discovering that the cost of demolition far exceeds what insurance policies allow.

It's only the latest setback for family-owned stores hit by rioting.

"We actually saw it on the news the morning it happened, so we didn't even know it was on fire," Jay Kim, owner of the Sports Dome on University Avenue in Saint Paul.

Officials say the Kim family started the Sports Dome in 1994, and now, it has reduced to rubble.

"There was kind of like a frame left standing, but the city came through," Kim said. "They knocked it down because it was kind of like a hazard."

On Monday afternoon, a contractor's crew worked to removed the last of what remained.

The Kim's were one of many business owners that faced sticker shock at the high-cost demolition.

Some bids came in at 10 times the amount the insurance policy allows.

"The highest estimate we got, I think the highest one came in at $285, or almost like $300,000," Kim said. "Our policy is only covering $25,000 for debris removal."

One of the estimating contractors KARE talked to Tuesday put it like this.

They say that with this age of building, you assume it's got asbestos and other carcinogens in the rubble, so it has to be taken to a special hazardous materials landfill instead of a regular landfall. Also, because it's asbestos, it has to be handled carefully and specially wrapped. All of that adds to the expense of handling this type of debris.

It's just the latest obstacle small family-owned businesses are facing in their efforts to rebuild, according to Rep. Mohamud Noor.

"That's concerning, and I think it's a significant failure at all levels, to address the needs of those businesses and we need to do something immediately," Noor said. "I'm hoping we can get something to help them with that clean-up and to do it more safely."

Rep. Noor and others are working on bills that would provide relief and stability to the commercial zones hardest hit by the riots.

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