City to demolish Carousel Mall

City to Begin Demolition of the Carousel Mall
Posted on Apr 21, 2023

City to Begin Demolition of the Carousel Mall

On Monday, April 24 at 10:00 am, the City of San Bernardino will hold a brief ceremony that will mark the demolition of the Carousel Mall and symbolize the end of an era in downtown San Bernardino. The mall, which encompasses 43 acres, will be systematically demolished over the coming weeks.

The mall is located on Second Street between G and E Streets. With the property fully fenced, access to the site and event parking for the event will be on G Street, between Second and Third Streets. The event is open to the public.

The Carousel Mall was a two story, indoor mall that opened in 1972. Originally called the Central City Mall, it was renamed the Carousel Mall in 1991, which coincided with the installation of a large carousel inside the mall. Now owned by the City of San Bernardino, it closed in August of 2017. The demolition of the mall marks a milestone in the redevelopment of the site, which is envisioned to include several thousand new housing units, along with commercial and office buildings.

Note: Because the Mall will be systematically demolished, there will be no implosion as part of the ceremony.

This week, the San Bernardino released the following statement in response to a small group of residents who claimed a City ordinance precluded the City from demolishing the Mall:

"The Carousel Mall demolition is being done to abate a public nuisance. The health and safety issues resulting from multiple fires, scavengers, and homeless individuals necessitated the Council to approve demolishing the Mall in advance of the property’s redevelopment. 

On December 7, 2022 the City Council determined that the Carousel Mall is dangerous and constitutes an imminent threat to public health and safety per Chapter 15.37 of the San Bernardino Municipal Code.  Accordingly, the City Council authorized the demolition. 

As with any demolition project, building materials must be processed from large pieces (sometimes, intact structures) into smaller pieces for either transportation off site or for use as fill to eliminate grade disparities and ensure safety at the site.  It is simply not feasible (or cost-effective) as part of a demolition for any property owner to remove a structure in an intact condition for processing and crushing off-site. 

The ongoing discussion about on-site crushing as part of a development project, particularly where it involves the importation of off-site material for processing on-site, should not be conflated with crushing activities in connection with a demolition project. 

When the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2020-265 to prohibit crushing within 1,000 feet of residential properties, it did so in connection with temporary use permits for the stockpiling of building materials and grading.  It does not address demolition projects. 

That said, the City recognizes the Carousel Mall Demolition is a highly visible project near businesses, pedestrians, and commuters. The City’s contractor understands the design and execution of the Project requires the identification of potential impacts to the public and the implementation of measures to minimize or avoid these affects. The contractor has incorporated measures to mitigate potential impacts to the public and environment. For example, the City has imposed mitigation measures to address noise, traffic, dust and debris, and security in connection with the demolition.  In addition, City staff has worked with the contractor to ensure that crushing activities take place more than 1,000 feet away from the nearest residential property."