Colorado Mills mall store owner says November reopen date makes sense

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Store owners continued to clean up their stores Friday while the Colorado Mills mall works on repairs after last week's hailstorm.

The hail punched holes through the roof, sending rain and hail inside of the mall.

Sandra Slonim owns Got Paint?, a paint-your-own-pottery store inside the mall. She said she has been at the mall for 14 years, and can't fathom that a hailstorm was powerful enough to shut it down.

"This was massive. To have a mall taken out and it's not by a tornado, it's not by a hurricane. It's by a hailstorm. When has that really happened?" Slonim said.

She had extensive damage inside of her store and while it is bad, she's also seen other areas of the mall that are in rough shape.

"So much water damage, it's unbelievable," Slonim said. "It's just destroyed and it's going to take a long time to get it fixed."

Colorado Mills mall set up a website for store owners and employees.

In a memo, it says the mall doesn't expect to open before November. The memo goes on to say the rain ruined electrical systems, mechanical systems and common spaces. The entire roof needs to be replaced.

"All of a sudden, you really look at it in daylight and you go, 'This is bad.' The hail didn't even melt until the next day and it was still raining inside the mall," Slonim said.

Slonim has liability and business insurance. She said she's grateful she has the additional coverage because she's able to continue to pay employees until the store reopens in November.

However, she notes other store owners without that coverage are in bad shape.

"It's going to be very difficult. It's going to impact them tremendously because they've lost all their merchandise and they've lost their income," Slonim said. "Thousands of people's day-to-day lives have been affected by this."

While people have lost jobs, the city of Lakewood is also losing money. The mall generates $350,000 in sales tax revenue every month.

However, Lakewood's finance director, Larry Dorr, hopes some sales tax revenue returns before November.

There are 12 entities within the mall's boundary that have their own entrances. Dorr said those 12 stores make up a large portion of the sales tax revenue.

He hopes some of those stores will be able to reopen sooner and that will help bring back some revenue.

In the meantime, Dorr said the city has $20 million in reserves to make up for the loss in revenue, so the city won't see any impact to critical services.

However, Dorr said the loss of sales tax revenue might mean delaying small projects such as repairing park benches or repaving tennis courts.

Colorado Mills said in a statement it has no date on when it will reopen, but it hopes to be operational by the holiday shopping season.