Friday, May 25, 2018
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No signs of mold, asbestos are found at Southwyck

A third-party inspector found no visible evidence of mold growth or airborne asbestos yesterday at Southwyck Shopping Center, mall management's attorney said last night.

Whether the venerable and virtually vacant mall stays open hinges on a reinspection Monday by Toledo crews, the mayor's spokesman said.

On Thursday, city officials said they would close the mall if mold was not cleaned and asbestos secured within 72 hours.

Inspectors on May 2 found the hazards, including asbestos dislodged by leaks in the roof of the closed Montgomery Ward store.

The mall hired Watterson Environmental Group of Sylvania, "an independent third party inspector," attorney Kenneth C. Baker said in a statement, "to evaluate the city of Toledo's allegations that unsafe conditions exist in the Mall."

Mr. Baker of Eastman & Smith Ltd., which represents the mall, said the inspector looked at areas of the mall that the city of Toledo identified.

The result was "no visible evidence of suspect mold growth on the interior, exposed surfaces of the skylights of the mall," he said.

There also "is no obvious visible evidence that any airborne asbestos debris is being tracked into the mall" from the closed Montgomery Ward.

City officials expressed concern that maintenance workers entering and leaving the closed store allowed asbestos to escape.

Mr. Baker said the mall had not received "the results of any analytical tests by the city or anyone else which would lead us to conclude that any asbestos dust has escaped from the sealed-off" store.

This weekend, the mall will fix a women's restroom, which had mechanical issues identified by the city, Mr. Baker wrote.

Southwyck "fully expects that all of the issues which may have caused the city to issue its closure notice will have been addressed to the city's satisfaction by the opening of business on Monday," he said.

Brian Schwartz, spokesman for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, said if the city is not satisfied that violations have been corrected, then the mall will be closed.

If the mall meets city codes, "then they won't have any problems," Mr. Schwartz said. "We look forward to their cooperation on Monday."

The mall at 2040 South Reynolds Rd. opened in the early 1970s. Eight stores remain open.

Tom Morgan of Dreiseszun & Morgan, managing partner for the mall ownership group, owns half the mall, not including the closed Dillard's store, with his uncle, Sherman Dreiseszun, who died Dec. 2.

Dillard's Inc., of Little Rock, owns the other half and the former Montgomery Ward building.

Developer Larry Dillin has said he is continuing efforts to buy the mall.

He previously announced a plan for a development that includes stores, offices, and residences, all components of his Levis Commons project in Perrysburg.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

or 419-724-6182.

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