Signs around the Imperial Mall now proclaim the building is “closed forever.”
Friday was the deadline for the two remaining tenants to leave the building.
The Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office ordered the building to be closed by 5 p.m. Friday after its owners, Namdar Realty Group of Great Neck, New York, failed to repair code deficiencies.
The deficiencies included replacing ceiling tiles and updating the sprinkler system and emergency lighting, which were discovered during a five-year inspection in January.
Napoli’s Italian Restaurant was the last business operating in the mall. Manager Tony Ragipi said the business still is searching for a new location and plans to reopen in Hastings.
The restaurant stayed open to the last, serving customers until it locked the doors Friday evening.
A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page thanked customers for their business during the last seven years.
“We look forward to serving you again soon,” it states. “We are still open in Grand Island, and we will honor your gift cards there, and we do intend to open again soon in Hastings!”
The other tenant displaced by the closure is Lifehouse Church, which has been a tenant since 2008.
Lifehouse Church had its last service at the mall on May 26. The church has been in the process of moving items out of the mall and moving much of it to the building where Paul Spady Buick Motors Inc. currently is located at 2850 Osborne Drive East.
The church will meet at the 18th Street YMCA, 1220 W. 18th St., until renovations can be made to the new location.
Mall manager Marian Turner said she will work with Namdar for some time as needed to secure the building. She said maintenance workers will go through the building to ready it for long-term closure and steps will be taken to secure it.
“They just have to make sure everything is turned off and in good condition so no surprises happen,” she said. “Everything locked up, lights off, just to be sure that we’re safe.”
At 83 years old, Turner doesn’t plan to look for another job.
“This has been my life, and I’ve been a widow over 20 years,” she said. “The job takes over. Of course I’m going to miss it, but we all have to have changes in our life.”