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Galleria to be fully open by October, officials say

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Nearly five months after a fire that destroyed a major portion of the Westfield Galleria at Roseville, officials announced Thursday that the mall should be fully operational by October. “As we get closer to summer, we’ll have a firm date on when that will be, but we are looking at opening before the one-year anniversary of the fire,” said Gavin Farnam, general manager of the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. Farnam also announced that since the Oct. 21 fire, nearly 160 stores have reopened in the center, and that all anchor stores in the mall are now open. Sears expects to be fully open on both floors by April 1, he said. Reporters and members of the media got a firsthand look at the damage that spans about 120,000 square feet in the northeast corner of the mall after Galleria officials held a brief press conference. Twisted metal girders could be seen at “ground zero” where officials said the fire began. Most of the area had been cleared of debris by construction crews. “I think we’ve come a long way,” Farnam said. “We’ve got the place cleaned out, it’s basically gutted and we are on to the next stages of the rebuild.” Farnam announced that within the next couple weeks, steel framing for the new roof will begin to be installed and that construction crews have been careful to ensure the job is being done correctly. “It has been a long, slow process for us,” he said. “We took every precaution to make sure that this building was safe, and that we followed all the rules. We take it very seriously and when the tenants come back, we want to provide them with a safe environment to come in and reopen their stores.” Westfield officials say while they do not expect every retailer to return to the space, which will house 44 stores, they are expecting some new retailers to bring a “new energy” to the Galleria. Earlier this month, Alexander Piggee, 23, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty to setting the blaze that caused more than $55 million in damages. According to court documents, Piggee entered the GameStop in the Galleria mall, ordered a store employee to leave and started a fire in the back of the store. The fire then spread through the ceiling, ultimately destroying a large portion of the mall. A Westfield maintenance worker who believed he was acting on police orders shut off sprinklers during the Galleria mall blaze, according to a report released by the city in December. - Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com