The Woodville Mall in Northwood was facing the potential of indefinite closure Monday from Wood County officials who say the 42-year-old mall has safety and health hazards due to a leaky roof that badly needs replacing.
Brad Espen, Wood County director of environmental services, said an inspection is to take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday and if officials confirm the existence of roof-related problems, the county prosecutor’s office likely will seek an injunction to close the mall.
A county building inspector and the Northwood city attorney were both expected to examine the mall Monday afternoon.
It is not known how long a closure would last, but it would not affect The Andersons General Store or Sears department store, both of which would remain open. The two stores are connected to the mall but not experiencing the roof problems plaguing the remainder of the 778,000-square foot mall located at 3725 Williston Rd., in Northwood.
Mr. Espen said the county has received many complaints about the mall and its roof, which has many leaks and reportedly had a small collapse in one area. “We’ve had complaints of mold issues, no heat, and the sprinkler system not working,” Mr. Espen said.
When it rains, the leaks create slippage hazards and there are reports that some ceiling tiles have fallen in the Fox Woodville Theater at the mall due to the leaks. If the mall is closed, the theater would be closed as well because it has no separate outside entrance, Mr. Espen said.
The mall, which has about 10 tenants, is owned by Mike Kohan, a real estate investor from Little Neck, N.Y.
Mr. Kohan put the mall up for sale this year and attempted to sell it to Royale Property Management, of Lakewood, N.J. in August, but the sale was contingent on the addition of a new roof to the property.
Mr. Espen said Mr. Kohan has provided patching and other small repairs to the roof, but he has not replaced it. “I don’t believe he has the resource to do anything about the roof,” Mr. Espen said.