Duluth mall begins phased reopening after partial roof collapse
Some tenants were allowed to return Sunday, but getting the OK to return might not mean a given business opens immediately
DULUTH — Less than a week after a section of its roof caved in, sending debris and ton after ton of accumulated snow into a hallway below, Duluth's Miller Hill Mall is starting to get back to business.
A seven-phase reopening plan began Sunday, when 10 tenants along the mall’s northern edge got the go-ahead to return to their premises, according to a March 19 email obtained by the News Tribune that was sent by administrators at Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, to store managers.
That segment — colored blue in a map sent by mall staff — includes Men’s Wearhouse and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Next in line is a 19-tenant, west section that includes Maurices and the St. Louis County Auditor Service Center. Tenants in that green-coded segment are set to hear about reopening between Tuesday and Thursday.
After that, according to the emailed plan:
- Tenants in the mall’s northeastern corner, such as Barnes & Noble and Old Navy, are expected to receive notification between Tuesday and Wednesday. That section is colored brown on the tentative mall reopening map.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods is expected to hear about reopening between Thursday and Friday. It’s purple on the map.
- Tenants in the mall’s southernmost end, which includes the food court, are expected to receive notification between Thursday and Friday. That segment is colored orange on the map.
- Tenants in a yellow-coded section at the center of the mall, such as Bath & Body Works and Hot Topic, are expected to receive notification between Sunday and Monday.
The only stores without a tentative re-entry date are the seven closest to the site of the cave-in, such as GNC and Express. Each tenant there will be contacted by mall management to discuss a reopening schedule. That segment is red-colored on the tentative reopening map.
Getting the OK to return might not mean a given business opens immediately. And the mall's reopening schedule is subject to change due to more inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances, Katie Kaz, the mall's general manager, said in the email Monday.
Before the mall can allow tenants to return to a given section, it needs the go-ahead from city inspectors who double-check that fire alarms and other “life safety” systems are functioning properly.
Mall staff are also required to complete a structural analysis of the roof, report corrective measures to the city, as well as reinforce the area around the collapsed roof and remove snow and other debris from it.