Queen Mary to get $1 million more in repairs ahead of reopening in Long Beach
By BILL AFFRONTO
The Associated Press
Posted Aug. 26, 2013 at 4:06 p.m.
LONG BEACH — When the sun set on the grand red-brick, glass-fronted mall with the huge movie theater and the huge shopping complex that was the first to open in Long Beach, the last thing anyone imagined was the fire and the earthquake that would hit Monday night.
The 10-story mall was the pride of the city and the region and was the anchor for nearly $1 billion in renovations a few months ago.
It was supposed to be open by now. But the manager of the mall, the Long Beach City College, said the fire shut down the north end of the mall and the earthquake caused the south end to shut off. Now, both had to be rebuilt.
The $835 million repairs will not begin until Monday.
“We cannot open the mall today, that is the sad reality,” Long Beach City College President Dennis Jepsen said Monday. “There was a fire during the night. We have to find out what caused the fire and put it out.”
Jepsen spoke at a news conference at the campus with Deputy Fire Chief Steve Barfield and LBCC Commissioner Scott Flanders, the man who oversees the public college’s business.
The LBCC, which has the largest single campus in California and is not a city school, has a fire and earthquake insurance policy that covers the center, but not the rest of the mall complex and the buildings surrounding it.
The insurance company that covers the LBCC did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
On Monday, Barfield said that while the fire was still burning, the north end of the mall, which includes the gift shop and the food court had not yet been brought back to life.
The LBCC has said the mall will reopen on Tuesday, except for “certain activities” that could be delayed, such as the weekly farmers market.
The earthquake struck at about 11 p.m. Monday and was centered near the mall and then moved to the south.
On its website, the school said all classes, staff and students were evacuated to the LBCC-owned community center.