The Pyramid Company hopes to transform its Carousel Mall into "DestiNY USA," a "resort destination" with three million square feet of entertainment, retail and recreation attractions.
Will this huge project be the city's salvation or its downfall -- and will it ever be built?
DestiNY USA. The official Destiny website. The impact: 250,000 new jobs, $65 billion in new taxes, and a commitment to operate 100% fossil fuel free. Destiny USA "...will reduce the country's dependence on oil."
Destiny groundbreaking just for show. March 31, 2006, The Post-Standard. Three thousand people , including Governor Pataki, came out for the Destiny groundbreaking in 2002. But Destiny's former CFO claims there were no building plans, it was all just for show.
Syracuse hopes Destiny ends bond dispute. March 14, 2006, Reuters. Syracuse, NY hopes Destiny developer will avoid more court battles by detailing expansion plans.
Destiny dispute goes to State Supreme Court. January 1, 2006, The Post-Standard. The city argues that the deadline for the 30-year property tax deal passed on Dec. 31st, 2006. Destiny claims there never was a deadline.
Building Plans Approved. In late 2005 Destiny was issued building permits for construction of the first stage of DestiNY USA. But these plans looked nothing like the state-of-the-art, fossil-fuel-free project we'd come to expect. They looked like more conventional shopping mall.
Take a look at the city approved design:
The new parking garage, in what is now the southeast parking area, is reported to be eight stories tall. Approaching from downtown or I-81, the garage may be all that visitors will be able to see.
The new retail space in what is now the southwest parking area (near where Borders is now) contains what appears to be the new "water feature" — the indoor recreation of the Erie Canal we've been hearing about.
These elevations show what appear to be pre-cast concrete panels and metal ventilation louvers. Is this what people approaching the mall from Onondaga Creek or the Inner Harbor would see?
The Mall That Would Save America. New York Times Magazine, July 3, 2005. Robert Congel has a plan to ''change the world.'' He is convinced Destiny USA will ''produce more benefit for humanity than any one thing that private enterprise has ever done.''
Destiny's Plans Sour Urban-Planning Architect Andres Duany. Post-Standard, October 27, 2004. After looking at the current plans for Destiny USA, nationally renowned architect Andres Duany described them as "inept," "passé" and "heartbreaking."
Energy Bill a Special-Interests Triumph. October 4, 2004. The Boston Globe points to Destiny USA "green bonds" as an example of how special interests are shaping federal energy legislation.
Destiny plan eyes chunk of North Side. January 5, 2004. Destiny USA announces a new plan in January 2004 that would build over the City's oldest neighborhood.
The kind of place creative people flee. July 31, 2003. Albany author Stephen Leon says: "A huge shopping mall with hundreds of chain stores and restaurants and 20,000 hotel rooms surrounded by acres of parking lots and connector roads will not help to make Syracuse the kind of place that creative people will flock to..."
Builder Rules Out Syracuse for Mega-Mall July 12, 2003. Pyramid officials announce that Destiny USA will be built, but somewhere other than Syracuse.
Developer With Stealth Reputation Changes Tactics to Build Syracuse Megamall June 19, 2003. Destiny USA officials spend more than $100,000 lobbying for enhancements to the state Empire Zone program.
Can the Biggest Mall Ever Help, Not Hurt Its City? July 28, 2002. Nationally syndicated story by Neil Pierce in July 2002 asks whether DestiNY USA might be the rare mall project that doesn't harm its host city more than it helps it.
Mall drama's next act may make all the difference. February 4, 2002. As the County legislature passes DestiNY USA tax breaks in February of 2002, many wondered how the project would impact city revitalization efforts.
Attention Mall Rats. September 2001. Forbes magazine article about proposed DestiNY USA project.