Businesses sign leases with other malls as Colorado Mills remains closed after May hailstorm

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- It has been nearly three months since a massive hailstorm -- the most expensive in Colorado history -- forced the temporary closure of the Colorado Mills mall in Lakewood.

Longtime businesses have signed leases with other malls in other cities.

"Like most family-owned businesses, we have to make some money," said Geoff Cleveland, owner of Cleveland Creek, a custom furniture store.

Cleveland recently opened a new location in Flatiron Crossings in Broomfield.

"We had to do it to survive. Basically, we couldn't just wait and live off insurance money, which wasn't much," Cleveland said.

Cleveland, who is open to returning to Colorado Mills one day, represents a growing concern by some that Colorado Mills will never be the mall it once was.

"It was a terrible natural event," Lakewood City Councilwoman Ramey Johnson said.

Johnson said the city has lost around $300,000-plus a month because Colorado Mills is no longer collecting tax revenue.

The hope, according to Johnson, is the mall will reopen in time for Black Friday -- but that is far from set in stone.

"They have been shy of giving us information," Johnson said, speaking about the owners of the mall, Simon Property Group.

Johnson said the city council should learn more in two weeks when it is fully briefed on the financial impact.

If there is any positive, Johnson said it's the city has substantial financial reserves that should be able to hold off cutting services or raising taxes.

"We are in a position that we can, whether this as we did a depression or a recession," Johnson said.