JONESBORO — Demolition of the unsalvageable portion of Turtle Creek Mall will begin by March 15, according to a letter received via email late Friday by the City of Jonesboro.

The letter from Brookfield Properties of Chicago, which owns Turtle Creek Mall, came in response to a request for action letter from Mayor Harold Copenhaver dated Jan. 15. The letter from Caryn Torres, vice president for property management retail of Brookfield, stated that Brookfield has “elected to move forward at this time with razing and removal of the portion of the property identified as the ‘Red Zone’ … ”

This “Red Zone” was deemed by Brookfield engineers to be unsalvageable from the March 28 tornado and exists roughly from the eastern edge of the former Victoria’s Secret to the Dillard’s location that has reopened.

Copenhaver said he was relieved to see Brookfield’s intentions and has been in conversation with mall management about reopening of the western half.

“The most important part is step one, which is removing the immediate danger presented by the hardest hit area that has been sitting, blighted, for almost a year,” Copenhaver said. “This letter is another encouraging sign that this area of commerce will be servicing the residents again.”

Copenhaver and senior staff toured the damage with Mall manager Rick Jackson in the new mayor’s first week in office in January, which led to a letter requesting Brookfield’s intentions.

Before the tornado, the mall had nearly 70 stores. Only Dillard’s, J.C. Penney and Target remain at this point.