The Shoppes at Riverside mall in South Aberdeen closed abruptly Feb. 13 because of concerns with the roof.
“When that snow and ice storm came through there we had some cracking in some of the ceiling tiles and wanted to make sure everything was safe,” said Al Lane, Chief Operating Officer for Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc., which owns the mall.
There is currently no time frame for the building to reopen. Lane said engineers and insurance people have been assessing the building, “and we’re on their timetable.”
“Safety is first and foremost, as much as we don’t like having it shut down,” said Lane. “We’re pushing on them as hard as we can and hope to get some more information by the end of the week.”
Coming Attractions’ own cinemas, including the one at the mall, which had been shut down since mid-December for COVID restrictions. The company also owns the Extreme Fun Center, a large amusement facility that has also been affected by the closure.
City of Aberdeen building inspector Matthew Anglesey told the Daily World that the city’s only involvement was on Feb. 23, when Aberdeen Assistant Fire Chief Rich Malizia received a phone message from mall manager Jasmine Dickhoff.
“Both Rich and myself went over to the mall and spoke with Ms. Dickhoff about the closure,” said Anglesey. “She informed us that she had contacted a structural engineer to evaluate the structure and she felt that it should remain closed for the public’s safety until they received the report from the engineer.”
He continued, “We did not advise Ms. Dickhoff about closing of the mall as she had made that decision already.”
Dickhoff, who took over as mall manager in January 2020, clarified that it was the building’s insurance company, not her, that “instructed the company to close the mall.”
All the businesses within the mall are closed for the time being.
Rancho Alegre Meat and Produce had been selling ingredients for Valentine’s Day dinners, but was forced to close Feb. 13. The following morning, Valentine’s Day, owner Hector Topete posted a video on the store’s Facebook page, showing he was unable to even access the building, much less his own shop. He vowed to reopen as soon as he could.
Since then, he’s been posting messages on the page almost daily, the latest one Tuesday reading, “Good morning everyone keeping positive for a good news soon have a wonderful day.”
Deen Dogs, the hot dog restaurant just across from the cinemas in the mall, has been posting communications from mall management since the closure. The most recent post from Feb. 26 said engineers will have the report of their findings and recommendations emailed to Coming Attractions by the end of the day next Friday, March 5.
Small signs on the locked doors at the mall Tuesday read, “We are sorry for the inconvenience, but the mall is currently closed while we have our roof assessed for possible damage from the snow. Please bear with us!”
Businesses are also dealing with their own insurance companies, pressing them for details as to when their current locations will be open again, as some owners were seeking out temporary locations during the weeks-long closure.