Owners who watched their businesses go up in flames are expressing mixed emotions after Waterloo Regional Police revealed they have launched a criminal investigation.

The investigation comes after a long-awaited report from the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office was given to police on Thursday.

Waterloo Regional Police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel says "The report has indicated to us that there were suspicious circumstances and the fire is now being investigated as an arson."

The April 22 fire at the popular plaza on University Avenue caused an estimated $3 million in damage and wiped out several businesses.

Benny Afrouzi, owner of the University Vision Centre, says "The first reaction is very angry, but we are also pleased to have some sort of direction that the authorities do have and they're obviously going to look into the matter and do their investigation."

Like Afrouzi, Kevin Chung, who owns Mr. Sushi Sushi, says he's looking forward to being able to rebuild, and both say more than just a building was lost in the fire.

Afrouzi says the impact on the people has been the most difficult to cope with, "It's awful, that just tells me right away there's no morality in anything like this. We have more than 90 people out of jobs."

Both men hope to rebuild soon, but don't expect to be back in business until this summer.