by Susan Mikula Campbell
An open roof hatch and freezing weather combined last weekend to burst water valves and flood the old Summit Park Mall. A Niagara County Sheriff's Office patrol doing an area check at the mall early Sunday noticed water coming from the old Steve & Jerry's location.
Mall owner Jim Anthony said Tuesday that damage estimates are still being completed, but will be considerably less than originally reported.
Anthony, CEO of a commercial real estate agency in Raleigh, N.C., also noted that he currently is negotiating with two parties on the possible sale of the mall, which closed in 2009 except for exterior stores. The mall has been the target in recent years for thieves seeking copper and metal.
Rich Donner, Wheatfield water/sewer superintendent, said he and one of his workers went to the scene to turn off the water supply to the mall complex at about 9 a.m. after being called by the Sheriff's Office. Repairs were handled by mall maintenance and Donner returned that evening to turn the water back on.
Although the three operating stores on the exterior of the mall - Sears, Bon•Ton and Save-A-Lot - were not flooded, Donner said, "it basically turned the inside of the mall into a pond." Several inches of water was on the floor and the recessed seating area in the hallway was filled.