09/02/11 — Mall will reopen Saturday after hurricane roof damage

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Mall will reopen Saturday after hurricane roof damage

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 2, 2011 1:46 PM

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Sears Assistant Store Manager Alice Thompson unlocks the gate at the department store's lawn and garden entrance Thursday. Sears, Belk and JCPenney were back in business Thursday. The rest of the mall will reopen Saturday.

One week after its roof collapsed as Hurricane Irene blew through, Berkeley Mall will reopen Saturday.

The mall's three department stores, Belk, JCPenney and Sears all opened Thursday.

However, patrons still will not have full access to the mall. A large barrier will keep people out of the area where the collapse occurred -- the area between the Belk mall entrance and the glass atrium.

The barrier also will keep several stores closed at least through the weekend, mall general manager Jan Luttrell said. Those are GameStop, Daughtry Jewelers and Bath and Body Works, and possibly GNC and Hallmark.

The goal next week, she said, is to move those stores into temporary homes elsewhere in the mall.

Ms. Luttrell said she did not know yet the financial impact being closed all week has had on the mall, but added that she is excited to be able to reopen the doors Saturday.

"We'll be getting all that information together. We've just been focused on getting the doors reopened," she said.

She also did not know when the roof would be fully repaired -- only that the timeline would likely be a matter of weeks, not months. She did say that once the steel for the new beams arrives there may be a few days that the mall is partially closed again so those can be put in place, but that she didn't know when exactly that might be.

"It's sort of a moving target. I hesitate to put a firm date on anything, other than that we're reopening Saturday," she said. "I think it has gone about as quickly as it possibly could have. They (Interstate Restoration) are here working 24/7."