Since March 1, two billboards on Erie Boulevard have beckoned passersby to go to Rotterdam Mall.
The billboards were rented to counter “bad publicity” and remind people that, no, the mall, formerly known as Rotterdam Square, has not closed, general manager Terri Emond said.
One of the billboards, met by drivers heading north toward Freemans Bridge Road, reads “Rediscover Rotterdam Mall” and includes the mall’s website, rotterdammall.com. The other, seen by drivers heading south as they turn onto Erie Boulevard from Freemans Bridge Road or Maxon Road Extension, reads “Shop Local. Save Gas. Save Time.” along with “Rotterdam Mall” and the website. They both feature a logo that uses the initials “RM.”
“There’s so much bad publicity,” Emond said. “We’ve got a lot of people out there saying, ‘Hey, is it closing?’ No, we’re here. Come visit us.”
Most recently, the mall made headlines when National Grid shut off its power on Feb. 12, two days before Valentine’s Day, after owner Michael Kohan allegedly failed to pay a large outstanding utility bill. Kohan disputed the bill, however, saying National Grid did not charge him for a meter for eight months.
The mall was also in the news in early January when Macy’s announced it would be closing this spring. That news was followed by Gap’s announcement less than a week later that the mall’s outlet would be moving to Mohawk Commons in Niskayuna.
The billboards will be up through the end of March, Emond said. She declined to say what they cost to rent, but she said the billboard company, Lamar, was offering a special this month.
“We took it because Lamar had a promotion going and it was a good time for us,” she said.
In addition to drawing attention to the mall, the billboards have an unintended consequence of highlighting the fact that the mall, formerly known as Rotterdam Square Mall, has a new name.
The change to simply Rotterdam Mall took place more than a year ago, in January 2014, when Kohan purchased the mall for $8.5 million, Emond said.
“Everything’s under Rotterdam Mall Realty Management,” Emond said. “We just shortened it to say Rotterdam Mall now.”
The change is reflected on the website. The big sign on West Campbell Road outside the mall, however, still says Rotterdam Square.