Controversial Shopping Mall Partly Collapses in Mexico City
Mexico City: A newly opened shopping centre in Mexico City has partly collapsed after a support beam failed in a cantilevered office area on the building's top floors.
Restaurant worker Juan Ramon Hernandez said people were evacuated only about five minutes before the offices sheared off. Officials said no injuries were reported.
"We heard a big noise and they began to evacuate us from the plaza," said Hernandez. "About five minutes later was when the collapse happened."
Videos posted on social media showed the multistorey section collapse in a cloud of dust and twisted metal. Some of it fell into lanes of a major freeway, which had been closed shortly before the collapse.
The Artz Pedregal mall opened in March, though parts remained under construction. It had drawn the ire of neighbours worried about the loss of open space, congestion and other issues. Built on the edge of the city's main expressway, the mall had suffered previous subsoil slides.
Mexico City Mayor Jose Ramon Amieva said the collapse occurred in an area of offices, and experts were investigating whether the cantilevered areasuffered from structural defects or soil settling.
"They noticed that a separation was occurring" between the overhang and the rest of the building hours before the failure," Amieva said.
In a statement, the mall's operator said it notified city authorities when it noticed signs the area was collapsing.
The risk posed by substandard building has been a longstanding issue in Mexico City, where many poorly built or designed buildings collapsed in the city's 1985 and 2017 earthquakes.
The city also has notoriously bad subsoil conditions, and developers often build on unstable land.
In 2016, while foundation work was still being done on the mall, a retaining wall next to the expressway partly collapsed.
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