Midtown mall deemed unsafe to occupy weeks after M7.0 earthquake

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Structural engineers with the City of Anchorage have deemed the Valhalla Center on Northern Lights as unsafe to occupy almost five weeks after Nov. 30’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The mall had remained open until a Jan. 2 inspection discovered “roof failure.”

Ross Noffsinger, the acting building official with the Municipality of Anchorage, explained that the roof diaphragm became detached from the wall at the roof joint.

“A strong aftershock or an earthquake could cause a partial or a complete collapse," Noffsinger told Channel 2.

Noffisinger said he isn’t aware why inspectors went to look at the Valhalla Center in the first place. The structure will now have to undergo repairs, after which, an engineer will have to inspect the building before it can reopen. He explained the building was constructed with concrete masonry units that have proven susceptible to damage by November’s earthquake.

Noffisinger says there is a cause for concern that there are only a relatively small number of buildings that engineers will be able to evaluate. Many structural problems, like those of the Valhalla Center, are likely to go unnoticed by the untrained layperson.

A week after the city inspect, the midtown mall remains bordered up with red tape circling the building that reads “danger: do not enter.”

The Korean VIP Restaurant is in the closed section of the building while Bombay Deluxe Indian Restaurant and the Asian market remain open.