THE BRONX - White Plains Road business owners who lost their establishments in a fire last month for the second time in two years are struggling to rise from the ashes.

Members of the White Plains Road Business Improvement District (BID) say while many of the merchants are in the process of rebuilding, their tenants may not be able to afford a new lease.

"Rents are higher than they used to be," says Larry Prospect, of the White Plains Road BID. "I'm assuming many will not come back."

Local business owners say they are sad to see some of their fellow entrepreneurs leave the neighborhood, but they point out that the community has done everything possible to return things back to normal.

According to members of the Business Improvement District, the fire greatly damaged the fabric of the community, not only in terms of revenue lost, but also in terms of bonds broken. They say many of the owners have been on White Plains Road for years, and are devastated at the prospect of not being able to return to their neighborhood.