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SIOUX CITY | For decades, the Normandy Building was a popular dining destination. In April, a savage fire left the turreted structure a sad skeleton. The next incarnation of 3726 Summit St. likely will be an empty lot.

The building is being demolished, and the owners said any plans for a replacement are far off and unlikely.

Sandy Keane, whose dance studio adjoins what was the longtime home of the Normandy Restaurant, said she's heard a lot of homeowners in the area lament the loss.

The building had been largely empty for two years before the fire but was in the early stages of renovation. Several local artists had rented studios in the building.

"A lot of people are very nostalgic for the old building, and they're sad this fire ever happened," Keane said. "The Normandy was around forever, and it's just not the same without it there."

For now, though, Jennifer Vollmer — whose father, Robert Seff, owns the Normandy — said she's just focused on clearing the site.

"We're really sorry to see it go," she said. "But at this point, we don't have plans for the space. It's been close to six months since we learned it would have to be torn down, so we're focused on that."

The building was ravaged by an April 5 fire, the cause of which remains unknown. Parts of the iconic structure date to the 1930s, but city officials deemed much of the building too severely damaged to restore.

Over the years, the building was home to a number of restaurants — the Normandy Restaurant, Normandy Hunt Club and Botticelli Ristorante Italiano.

Crews started demolition Dec. 1 but delayed completion to determine whether the building's dining room and art studio could be salvaged. After finding they could not, Vollmer said workers likely will return Monday to tear down what remains.

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The structure is built flush against two other buildings that house Sandy Keane's School of Dance and White Tiger Martial Arts Academy. Both buildings, which Seff also owns, survived the fire virtually untouched

Mike White, owner of the martial arts studio, said he'll miss the restaurant, but his business remains largely unaffected by its destruction.

"This school is really a destination of its own," he said. "This location works really, really well for us. I hope to stay at this location until I retire."

Vibeke Jensen, of Sioux City, was a frequent patron of the old restaurant, where she held her wedding reception and her daughter's baptism. She wishes something similar to the Normandy would spring up in its place.

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"It would be nice to see another small restaurant there," said Jensen, 67. "Everybody's eating at these chain restaurants — an Applebees can stay in business anywhere.

"I want to see another place there like (the Normandy). It was a landmark," she added.

Even so, she's eager to see the building's remnants taken away.

"It just looks bad," Jensen said. "I know it's a landmark and a lot of people are halfway heartbroken about it, but it's been months and it needs to be cleaned up."

Once the structure's gone, Vollmer says she doesn't anticipate anything new taking its spot.

"We're not even considering building a new structure," she said. "I can't say never, but it's just not anywhere in our vocabulary right now. It's just not feasible."

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