BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s been a longtime shopping destination in Baltimore but now there are questions about the future of the Gallery mall at the Inner Harbor.

WJZ has learned that some business owners at the mall are preparing to pack up their stores because they have been told there is a possibility the mall may close by the end of the year.

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“Right now we don’t know what’s going on,” said Luis Medina, the owner of La Mesa. “They told us in July that the last day would be in September and they contacted me again and said now it’s going to be December. So we don’t know what’s going on, what they are trying to do.”

WJZ contacted the New York-based Brookfield Properties which owns the Gallery. The company would not confirm nor deny if the mall will close by the end of the year but in emailed statements, a spokesperson said “We are currently evaluating several potential options to reposition the Gallery that will meet the needs of the market.”

Loyola University associate professor PJ Krahel said the internet is running brick and mortar stores out of business.

“It’s a combination of the increase in online sales,” said Krahel. “If I can get more variety at home potentially at a lower price without having to go anywhere, a lot of the appeal at the mall kind of diminishes.”

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A spokesperson from Mayor Brandon Scott’s office issued a statement which said “The City will continue to work with Brookfield as they consider options for significant improvements and investment in the Gallery to meet the needs of the market.”

If the Gallery mall closes, there are folks who will miss it.

“So many people don’t have transportation to get to the malls and other places and stuff, so it would be a great loss I believe if they would close it,” said Vivian Ray of Baltimore.

Store owners like Medina are hoping they will get a clear answer on what the future will bring.

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“It’s really hard because we cannot plan production, we cannot plan the retail part, you cannot plan anything, you cannot plan life, really,” said Medina. “I don’t know what’s going to happen after December, what I’m going to do.”

Ava-joye Burnett