Flint Twp., MI— Genesee Valley Center representatives say a sprinkler system leak has left many of the mall’s businesses closed since the Christmas holiday, and it remains unclear when those merchants will be able to reopen.

“Our team has finished drying and dehumidifying the affected spaces and is now in the process of removing all of the high moisture level contents,” read an emailed statement from Namdar Realty Group, the shopping center’s owner, and its property manager Mason Asset Management. “Once complete, we will contact the inspector to schedule a re-inspection of the site for approval of a reopening.”

The statement also clarified that the water recently coating the floor, furniture and products of many of the center’s businesses originated from a tenant’s sprinkler system and affected two wings of the mall and some common areas starting on the evening of Dec. 25, 2022.

A mall-goer peers through a crack in a wood wall sectioning off the damaged parts of the Genesee Valley Center on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)
The damaged parts of the Genesee Valley Center seen through a crack in a temporary wood wall on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)

Photos of the scene from social media did not look promising in the days following Christmas, with one business owner asking for direct support from his followers.

“The whole mall is flooded and destroyed, we have to move to the new location sooner than planned,” read a post from Walid Bounenni, whose taekwondo studio, BTA Martial Arts, has since relocated from the mall to 5329 Corunna Rd. “Anyone available to come help today and tomorrow please do.”

Namdar and Mason told Flint Beat they recognize the poor timing of the mall’s closure for their tenants and the greater Flint community.

“Unfortunately, with this happening in the midst of the holiday season, multiple tenants have been impacted by this closure during an important time of the year,” wrote the companies’ representative. “We are disappointed that this event disrupted holiday shopping for both our tenants and the community and are working swiftly and diligently to ensure the affected spaces are safe and ready to reopen to the public as soon as possible.”

As stands, Namdar and Mason said they are aware of a mix of local and national brands in the center who were affected by the flooding. The list they provided includes: Sisters Supporting Sisters, Genesee District Library, Dollar Sense, BT Custom Embroidery, Journeys Kidz, City Man, Kay Jewelers, Icing by Claire’s, Bath & Body Works, Fired Up Ceramics, Champs, Journeys, Unleashed on Purpose, Windsor Fashion, Jimmy Jazz/Snipes, BTA Martial Arts, Shoe Dept. Encore and The Family Puppy.

Other businesses with private entrances, like Planet Fitness, did not need to close during the mall’s water clean-up efforts. Genesee Valley Center representatives did not provide a possible date of full reopening for the affected businesses beyond awaiting re-inspection after water clean-up is complete.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....