Destiny USA in 2013
|Location||Syracuse, New York, USA|
|Address||9090 Destiny USA Dr, Syracuse, NY 13204|
|Opening date||April 28, 1990|
|Developer||The Pyramid Companies|
|Owner||The Pyramid Companies|
|No. of stores and services||300+|
|No. of anchor tenants||19|
|Total retail floor area||2.4 million square feet|
|No. of floors||6 (4 retail)|
Destiny USA (previously known as the Carousel Center, 1990–2012) is a six-story super-regional shopping and entertainment complex on the shore of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, New York. It is the sixth largest shopping center in the United States, and the largest mall in the state of New York. Main anchor stores include J. C. Penney, Macy's, and Lord & Taylor. Other major stores include At Home, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, Forever 21, DSW, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, and TJ Maxx.
The mall, which opened on October 15, 1990, has six above-ground floors and one underground floor, though only the lower three and the underground floor are retail. The fourth floor is primarily center offices. The third floor includes a 19-screen Regal Cinemas, restaurants, and entertainment options. The first and second floors span the length of the mall and house the various shops, vendors, restaurants and entertainment venues, with the major food court and namesake carousel being located on the second floor. The underground "Commons" floor houses medium-sized stores, a chapel, some kiosks, and the two underground parking garages, one of which also houses Best Buy's installation center. The Commons is only in the 1990 mall, not the 2012 addition.
Destiny USA has outside parking surrounding the mall on nearly all sides, on the Hiawatha Boulevard side parking is located across the street from the mall and is accessed by a bridge that enters the second floor of the 2012 addition. Parking includes one above ground and two underground parking garages. The mall is served by CENTRO buses. There are main entrances on nearly all sides, as well as access through most of the anchors and from the underground parking.
The site of Destiny USA was originally a landfill named Marley Scrap Yard, surrounded by several square blocks of oil tanks, collectively named "Oil City". South of these oil tanks sat the Franklin Square industrial neighborhood. In 1987 The Pyramid Companies began studying redevelopment of the neighborhood and that July announced plans for a 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2) shopping center at the scrap yard site. The plan was not without controversy. A smaller mall (The Galleries of Syracuse, now offices) had recently finished construction in Downtown Syracuse and there was concern that the mall at Oil City would put an end to downtown retail.
Two of the biggest opponents to the project were the competing mall developers in the area, Wilmorite Corp. and Eagan Real Estate Inc, which both operated several malls in Syracuse's suburbs. Wilmorite, which was constructing the Great Northern Mall in nearby Clay, was accused by the Syracuse city government of using associates in Connecticut to form the "Citizen's League for an Environmentally Acceptable Northeast," which lobbied against construction of a mall at Oil City. Eagan meanwhile filed criticism of the mall, claiming that a 25 percent drop in downtown retail sales would occur if the mall was built. It proposed an additional downtown mall with a "Walt Disney-like attraction."
During construction, the mall faced several delays, primarily around environmental cleanup, before opening on October 15, 1990 as Carousel Center, named for the 1908 Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel operating within the mall.
When it opened, Carousel Center featured a unique mix of discount and upscale department stores. Charter anchors included JCPenney, Kaufmann's, Steinbach, Lechmere, Chappell's, Hills, and the last Bonwit Teller ever built. Each department store was two levels, except Steinbach and Lechmere shared a building, with a store on each level, as well as Chappell's and Hills. A basement "Commons" area featured covered parking and additional junior anchors, including The Rx Place and Filene's Basement.
Another unique feature of the mall was the Skydeck, which was on the top levels of the central tower. This offered an events space that would be used for fundraisers, proms, fashion shows, and many public and private uses.
Mid to late 1990s
In 1992, The Pyramid Companies began clearing oil tanks south of the mall for a strip center called Carousel Landing, which would feature 650,000 square feet of additional retail.
In 1994, Lord & Taylor opened as the last new anchor, removing the remaining oil tanks on the property. The same year, Borders Books & Music opened a two-level store, replacing a side corridor with entrance.
Steinbach was replaced with Home Place, a northeast-based upscale home furnishings store, which closed two years later. Nobody Beats the Wiz also opened that year in the Commons level, but had an even shorter life: it opened in the summer of 1996 and closed by the end of 1997 due to the chain's financial troubles.
In November 1997, less than a month after Lechmere closed (a result of parent company Montgomery Ward eliminating the chain), Pyramid Companies announced that instead of building Carousel Landing, they would build an expansion to Carousel Center that would double the mall size. Under this plan, the expansion would house about 150 new stores and three anchors, with many of the stores both new to the market and not being in traditional malls. Pyramid officials say that the expansion would be complete by the year 2000.
In 1999, Hills was acquired and rebranded by Ames. In March of that year, DSW Shoe Warehouse opened in part of the former Lechmere, and October 1999 brought the opening of Bally Total Fitness, with a grand opening featuring the cast of Baywatch. The Bally Total Fitness filled in the remaining part of HomePlace/Steinbach that wasn't taken by Best Buy.
In March 2000, Bonwit Teller closed their location at the mall as the chain filed for bankruptcy. The space was taken later that year by one of the first American locations of H&M. It was also the first mall location. In May of that year, Kaufmann's Furniture Galleries opened in the mall, in the other half of the former Lechmere.
In 2001, Xpress Place (formerly The Rx Place) closed as parent company Phar-Mor went bankrupt. The same year, Pyramid cancelled the previous expansion project for a project that would triple, not double, the size of the mall, and rename it as "DestiNY USA". The Skydeck was closed for offices of this new megamall. Pyramid Companies promised an extravagant experience in which diners could eat at restaurants while watching people in wave pools, or visiting the aquarium on the site, among other things. There would also be a large Central New York Visitors Center inside the mall. However, the path to DestiNY USA would not be easy. Pyramid needed public funds and tax breaks to make the project possible, and people worried that the mall would be obsolete before all of it was paid. Eventually it was decided that the mall would be developed in phases, with the 800,000 square foot addition coming first. Despite this, Pyramid continued to unveil further plans for Destiny USA including a year-round glass-enclosed park and amphitheaters. Eventually, the large tax breaks and the magnitude of the project would gain much controversy.
In 2002, Ames closed when the corporate parent went bankrupt. At about the time of Ames closing, construction of the $180 million, 47 floor, 1,300 room Grand Destiny hotel purportedly began with a ceremony during which a steel beam was driven into a Carousel Center parking lot. At least 40 more pilings were driven over the next three weeks, but construction stopped by December 2. The stated reason was a dispute about whether this hotel would be considered "leasable space", which is a term used in the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between the county and the developer.
Mid to late 2000s
In August 2005, Sports Authority moved into a part of Ames (the rest of the store remains vacant) and in November 2005, Steve & Barry's University Sportswear opened in the former Kahunaville restaurant.
In September 2006, Kaufmann's was converted into a Macy's, though the Kaufmann's Furniture Galleries was closed. Federated also closed down CompUSA earlier that year, which it owned at the time.
In 2007, Pyramid Companies moved forward with the first phase of Destiny USA (the NY no longer emphasized at this point): a new addition that would add 800,000 square feet to Carousel Center. Part of Borders was closed down, including the exterior entrance. Additionally, H&M's exterior entrance was sealed, demolishing a covered drive-up dating back to the days as a Bonwit Teller. The project was planned to be a green building, powered entirely by renewable resources. Preparatory groundwork for the first phase, a 1,300,000-square-foot (120,000 m2) expansion of the 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) Carousel Center, began in April 2007, and pile driving for the structure's foundation began on August 9, 2007. Above-ground construction began on March 28, 2008.
The Pyramid Companies never announced any tenants for this new addition. In August 2008, it was announced that about 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) would be dedicated to a "Made in Italy" section with 27,000 square feet (2,500 m2) for restaurants, wine bars, and coffee bars and 150 stores with Italian brands and products.
Despite the fact that Steve & Barry's closed in late 2008, and Circuit City closed in early 2009 due to the respective bankruptcies, Pyramid announced that the new addition would be called "Arendi", which would not feature a miniature re-creation of the Erie Canal as planned. Shortly thereafter, Citigroup, the primary construction lender, stopped funding the Destiny USA project. Citigroup said that Destiny USA had no tenants lined up for the mall expansion and wanted Pyramid to cover 15.2 million dollars in cost overruns. As a result, construction came to a virtual halt with the last work happening in August 2009, when workers enclosed the unfinished addition.
2010 and onward
During this time, it was leaked that Arendi would use RFID technology but required tenants to turn over profits to Destiny USA. As courtroom battles continued during this time, and the mall cycled through tenants. A short-lived Ultimate Electronics (in the old Circuit City space) opened in August 2010  but closed in April 2011. Borders closed in January 2011 due to lease disagreements, months before the chain would go out of business as a whole.
In May 2011, an agreement between Citigroup and Congel was finalized and the addition continued. This time, the "Arendi" name and scheme was dropped in favor of a retail mix featuring entertainment, luxury stores, and outlet stores. Documents from the trial show several stores in the new expansion are leased, including Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th. A Q&A with Syracuse Post-Standard was done in June asking what would people like to see in Destiny USA, with Destiny officials listening in. Residents listed several ideas, including entertainment venues like Dave & Buster's, upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus, restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, but nothing was officially announced. It is mentioned that the "Made In Italy" feature had fallen through.
During the summer and into the fall, many new tenants were announced for the addition, including The Melting Pot, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, Lenox china, and many others. In November 2011, parts of the new addition opened mostly featuring temporary holiday stores and signs showing yet to come. About this time, but announced earlier that year Forever 21 and H&M essentially switched places, with H&M taking a large in-line space that replaced the old Forever 21 and part of the Borders, while Forever 21 moved to the old H&M, which extruded the original storefront.
In June 2012, it was announced that any further expansions to Destiny USA (including the glass-enclosed park, water features, hotels and technology park) were officially cancelled.
By late summer of 2012, the CarouselCenter.com webpage merged in with the DestinyUSA.com webpage, as new signage went up. In August 2012, the mall's name officially changed to "Destiny USA"., ending all references to Carousel Center. New major stores in the mall included Burlington Coat Factory in the Commons level, Dick's Sporting Goods and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th. P.F. Chang's and Dave and Buster's are some of the new restaurants to open. New amusement activities include WonderWorks, Billy Beez Indoor Play Park, Revolutions Entertainment; a bowling and restaurant venue with a bar and dance area, Pole Position Indoor Go-Karting, and Canyon Climb, the world's largest indoor rope course.
On January 4, 2015 it was announced via the Destiny USA website that Nordstrom, Inc. would be opening a Nordstrom Rack retail store. The 33,357-square-foot store opened in fall of 2015. The new store is located on the first level next to The Cheesecake Factory and across from the Armani Outlet. The Bon-Ton announced that it would close its store in the mall in late 2015. In June 2016, Sports Authority closed due to the company filing for bankruptcy. Destiny USA announced in January 2017 that Revolutions would close at the end of the month but would be reopening under new management. In October 2016, the lower level of the former Bon-Ton was filled entirely with At Home.
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- Article ID: 9910240113 Published on October 24, 1999, Syracuse Herald American (NY) NEW SHOE WAREHOUSE STEPS INTO CAROUSEL
- October 27, 1999, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) BALLY BRINGS IN "BAYWATCH' AND ESPN FOR MALL OPENING, NewsLibrary.com
- Article ID: 0005311328 Published on May 31, 2000, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) FURNITURE STORE FILLS A NICHE KAUFMANN'S FURNITURE GALLERIES OPENS IN CAROUSEL CENTER FRIDAY
- Published on November 1, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) NEW NAME, NEW LOOK, NewsLibrary.com/sites/sy
- Article ID: 0111030471 Published on November 4, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY)
- Article ID: 0111290178 Published on November 29, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY USA'S NEW DEAL
- Article ID: 0112010126 Published on December 1, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DRISCOLL PUSHES FOR A NEW MALL DEAL
- Article ID: 0112010394 Published on December 2, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) MALL WILL BE OBSOLETE LONG BEFORE ITS PAID FOR
- Article ID: 0112070157 Published on December 7, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) WALL STREET WANTS MALL IN PHASES, PYRAMID TELLS COUNTY
- Article ID: 0112150254 Published on December 15, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY ATRIUM PLAN UNFOLDS, NewsLibrary.com
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- Published on August 3, 2005, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) SPORTS AUTHORITY OPENS IN CAROUSEL IN OCTOBER, NewsLibrary.com/sites/sy
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- "Ultimate Electronics, which has a store at Syracuse's Carousel Center mall, files for bankruptcy protection". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "Syracuse says goodbye April 9 to the short-lived Ultimate Electronics store in Carousel Center mall". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "TWC News – Central NY – Syracuse, Ithaca, Utica, Cortland, Oswego, CNY". centralny.ynn.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "As the Carousel Center expansion fills, here's what you told us (and the developers) about what's in your dream mall". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "Carousel Center mall in Syracuse will soon get busy on some major retail shifts and expansions". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "A new anchor for Syracuse's Carousel Center as Forever 21 takes over H&M's spot". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- WRVO, Ryan Delaney,. "Grand plans for Destiny USA laid to rest". Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "The Carousel Center mall name rides into the sunset as Syracuse's super-regional mall officially becomes Destiny USA". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- Guse, Maren (June 6, 2012). "Burlington Coat Factory to open at Destiny USA this fall". WSTM. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "Syracuse's Destiny USA adds another upscale restaurant; Dick's Sporting Goods opens". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "'World's largest' ropes challenge course to soar above Destiny USA's Canyon floor". syracuse.com. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
- "July 2013 Press Kit". www.destinyusa.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
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- "Bon-Ton closing stores in W. Virginia, Ohio and New York". York Dispatch. October 21, 2015. Archived from the original on October 25, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- "Upscale bowling alley at Destiny USA set to close this week". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "Home furnishing superstore opens today at Destiny USA".
- "Destiny USA Embassy Suites opens $48 million hotel, see first photos". syracuse.com. Retrieved April 28, 2018.