The Northland Mall has been a mainstay in the Worthington community for over 35 years. The dilapidated shopping center has a leaky roof, which could lead to the mall having to close its door.
The Northland Mall, which has stood in Worthington since 1976, is now a ghost town. Jolene Kuhl was walking the hallways of the mall Monday. The Worthington native remembers the glory days of the mall.
"It's sad. It's sad because when I was a teenager, this mall, the stores were all full of people. You could hardly walk through the hallways on Fridays and weekends," Worthington resident Jolene Kuhl said.
Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Worthington Bradley Chapulis says that neglect from ownership has led the mall to the poor conditions, and the lack of shoppers and businesses.
"For the city of Worthington and its residents, the conditions that it currently is in is not acceptable. What we're doing in trying to take the necessary legal steps to put the onus on the ownership to do the repairs or ultimately face the consequence," Chapulis said.
Chapulis says that the doors could close if there isn't any improvement to the mall. The owner of the Northland Mall is Mike Kohen, who is based out of New York. He's had similar issues of a deteriorating mall in Missouri. The owner of 15 malls nationwide says he is doing what he can.
"We're working on the roof for the past two weeks, and my workers are on their way back to continue the roof job," Kohen said.
Chapulis says Kohen did recently get a building permit to install new roofing, but just for 12,000 square feet of the 198,000 square-foot building.
"I'm in touch with the city, the city is well aware of what's going on," Kohen said.
The city says its communication with the mall owner has been less than ideal.
"Up until recently, we had no communication other than him calling and asking for forgiveness or leniency," Chapulis said.
No matter who fixes the broken down mall, Kuhl hopes to see the shopping center return to what it once was.
"It's fixable. You get a roof on it. You get some new carpet in the stores or whatever and paint. It's fixable. It's doable," Kuhl said.
When asked if he could have done more to prevent the roof damage, Kohen said he probably could have, but he didn't think the problem was as serious as it was and last year, the mall didn't have any issues.