King of Prussia Mall hopes to dry out for holidays

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - November 11, 2010

The shuttered stores and restaurants are scattered throughout the lower level of the popular Plaza section of the mall which holds everything from clothing retailers to a food court.

The sound of construction echoed over parts of the lower level of the big Plaza Thursday.

The workers' mission is to get the final 25 water damaged stores up and operating in time for the holiday rush.

Troubles began way back on October 1st as water washed through the first floor breaking up tiles in the food court and soaking carpets in stores.

The culprit of the damage were the remains of Tropical Storm Nicole.

"We got hit very hard. We had nearly 8 inches of rain on October 1st in a shortened period of time and the streams overflowed, it was ground water that came into the mall," General Manager Robert Hart said.

The water impacted more than 120 of the malls 400 stores.

Some shops opened after only a few days of drying out; others are a work in progress.

Some store employees lost days of work, some were transferred to other stores in the area.

With Black Friday now looming, the push to have everything including the food court ready for the early bird shopper the day after Thanksgiving is on.

"That's a great motivator for the tenants; this is a big season. They are all committed, they are moving well, and we are going to see significant improvement on these last 25 stores in the next two weeks," Hart said.

It should be noted that the mall itself was never closed.

The next two weeks will be critical, not just for managers of stores that remain closed, but also for shoppers hoping to spend big at the mall.

The mall will be open on Black Friday beginning at 5:00 a.m.

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