Several Berkshire Mall stores lose power

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the full comment from Eversource.

LANESBOROUGH — Several stores in the Berkshire Mall closed early Tuesday afternoon, after they lost power.

There were conflicting reports on the number of stores that lost power. The mall's general manager, Jim Ruiz, said about half of Berkshire County's largest retail shopping complex lost power, while mall owner Mike Kohan, the principal of Berkshire County Realty Holding LLC, said the number was "about one quarter."

Ruiz declined to comment on the reason for the power outage, saying the situation was "complicated." Kohan said the reason was "probably something technical, I don't know."

Both men said they believed the issue would be resolved by Wednesday morning.

Kohan denied a report that the power had been shut down at the financially struggling shopping center because ownership had failed to pay the utility bill, and that the retail complex was being powered by generators.

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"No, we're not running on generators at all," he said. "If you don't pay the bill, why would only nine stores be without power? The whole mall should be down."

The power outage at the mall was not listed on Eversource Energy's outage map Tuesday. An Eversource company spokeswoman said Tuesday night that she didn't know the reason for the outage, and did not know the status of the mall's utility bill. She later confirmed that power is out in some portions of the mall but that any further details need to be discussed with mall management due to respect for our customer's privacy.

The Eagle counted at least 11 stores without power: American Eagle, Victoria's Secret, Claire's, MasterCuts, GNC, Shoe Dept., Cyber Station, Palace Hair Design, Peace Train Tees, Spencer Gifts and Fan Zone. All those stores were closed when The Eagle visited the complex late Tuesday afternoon. Most of the outages occurred in the middle of the 720,000-square-foot shopping complex. The east side of the mall was especially affected.

Three of the mall's largest tenants, Regal Cinemas, Sears and Target, were not affected by the power outage.

An employee of one store said that the power went out between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m., and that merchants began closing their stores shortly afterward.

"Everybody went out at once," the employee said. "They said they're working on bringing it back."

Berkshire County Retail Holding LLC is a subsidiary of Kohan Retail Investment Group of Great Neck, N.Y., which owns shopping malls in 15 states. A steady stream of tenants has left since Kohan purchased the 30-year-old, financially struggling shopping center for $3.5 million in September 2016.


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