Destiny USA

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Destiny USA
Destiny USA logo
Destiny USA.png
Destiny USA in 2013
Location Syracuse, New York, USA
Coordinates 43°04′15″N 76°10′13″W / 43.0709°N 76.1703°W / 43.0709; -76.1703Coordinates: 43°04′15″N 76°10′13″W / 43.0709°N 76.1703°W / 43.0709; -76.1703
Address 9090 Destiny USA Dr, Syracuse, NY 13204
Opening date April 28, 1990; 28 years ago (1990-04-28)
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)
Parking 5,500

Destiny USA (previously known as 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,[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] There are main entrances on nearly all sides, as well as access through most of the anchors and from the underground parking.


Destiny USA in its Carousel Center form, before expansion

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".[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] Eagan meanwhile filed criticism of the mall, claiming that a 25 percent drop in downtown retail sales would occur if the mall was built.[8] It proposed an additional downtown mall with a "Walt Disney-like attraction."[9]

During construction, the mall faced several delays, primarily around environmental cleanup,[10] before opening on October 15, 1990 as Carousel Center,[1] 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[11] and Filene's Basement.[12]

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.[4]

Mid to late 1990s[edit]

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.[13]

In 1994, Lord & Taylor opened as the last new anchor, removing the remaining oil tanks on the property.[4] The same year, Borders Books & Music opened a two-level store, replacing a side corridor with entrance.[14]

By 1995, Carousel Landing had still not appeared, partially tied up due to potential environmental impact,[15] though by 1996 The Pyramid Companies finally got approval to condemn the oil tanks.[16]

Steinbach was replaced with Home Place, a northeast-based upscale home furnishings store, which closed two years later.[17] 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.[18]

In November 1997, less than a month after Lechmere closed (a result of parent company Montgomery Ward eliminating the chain),[19] 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.[20][21][22]

1998 brought the opening of a CompUSA in the Commons Level,[23] Best Buy in part of the former HomePlace/Steinbach place,[24] and a Kahunaville in the Commons Level as well.[25]

In 1999, Hills was acquired and rebranded by Ames.[26] In March of that year, DSW Shoe Warehouse opened in part of the former Lechmere,[27] and October 1999 brought the opening of Bally Total Fitness, with a grand opening featuring the cast of Baywatch.[28] The Bally Total Fitness filled in the remaining part of HomePlace/Steinbach that wasn't taken by Best Buy.

Early 2000s[edit]

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.[29]

In 2001, Xpress Place (formerly The Rx Place) closed as parent company Phar-Mor went bankrupt.[11] 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".[30] The Skydeck was closed for offices of this new megamall.[4] 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.[31] There would also be a large Central New York Visitors Center inside the mall.[32] 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.[33][34] Eventually it was decided that the mall would be developed in phases, with the 800,000 square foot addition coming first.[35] Despite this, Pyramid continued to unveil further plans for Destiny USA including a year-round glass-enclosed park and amphitheaters.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38]

In December 2002, Pyramid Companies announced that DestiNY USA would hold the world's largest indoor waterpark, featuring a lazy river that would take tubers down to it.[39]

In 2004, DSW moved down into the Commons Level while Circuit City took its place.[citation needed]

Mid to late 2000s[edit]

In August 2005, Sports Authority moved into a part of Ames (the rest of the store remains vacant)[40] and in November 2005, Steve & Barry's University Sportswear opened in the former Kahunaville restaurant.[41]

In September 2006, Kaufmann's was converted into a Macy's,[42] though the Kaufmann's Furniture Galleries was closed.[citation needed] Federated also closed down CompUSA earlier that year, which it owned at the time.[43]

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.[14] Additionally, H&M's exterior entrance was sealed, demolishing a covered drive-up dating back to the days as a Bonwit Teller.[44] 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.[45] Above-ground construction began on March 28, 2008.[46]

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.[47]

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.[48] 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[49] with the last work happening in August 2009, when workers enclosed the unfinished addition.[50]

2010 and onward[edit]

During this time, it was leaked that Arendi would use RFID technology but required tenants to turn over profits to Destiny USA.[51] 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 [52] but closed in April 2011.[53] Borders closed in January 2011 due to lease disagreements, months before the chain would go out of business as a whole.[14]

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.[54] 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.[55]

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[56] 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.[57]

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.[58]

By late summer of 2012, the webpage merged in with the webpage, as new signage went up. In August 2012, the mall's name officially changed to "Destiny USA".,[59] ending all references to Carousel Center. New major stores in the mall included Burlington Coat Factory[60] in the Commons level, Dick's Sporting Goods[61] 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, RPM Raceway Indoor Karting (formerly Pole Position Raceway), and Canyon Climb, the world's largest indoor rope course.[62]

On June 14, 2013, Regal Cinemas opened their IMAX & RPX screens featuring Man of Steel in 3D. The IMAX & RPX also feature a separate entrance and concession stand.[63]

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.[64] The Bon-Ton announced that it would close its store in the mall in late 2015.[65] 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.[66] In October 2016, the lower level of the former Bon-Ton was filled entirely with At Home.[67]

A 209-room Embassy Suites hotel opened at the Destiny facility in September 2017.[68]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Carousel Center Opens to Raves". The Post-Standard. October 16, 1990. 8810110383. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ Carousel Center. "PDF Directory Download" (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ "CENTRO Carousel Center Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Carousel Center 20th Anniversary (1990–2010)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 11, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mall Planned for Oil City". The Post-Standard. July 11, 1987. 8707140226. Retrieved November 19, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "Galleries Already Feels Pyramid Mall's Heat". The Post-Standard. December 15, 1987. 8712150114. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ "Anti-Oil City Organization Called Sham". Syracuse Herald-Journal. October 25, 1987. 8810250346. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ "Eagan Officially Files Criticism of Pyramid's Proposed Mall". Syracuse Herald-Journal. October 14, 1987. 8712140408. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ "Eagan Floats Alternatives to Oil City". Syracuse Herald-Journal. October 14, 1987. 8801300012. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ "Carousel Center Mall to Open a Year Later than First Planned". Syracuse Herald-Journal. October 11, 1988. 8810110383. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ "Filene's Basement Branching Out Again", Boston Globe, 10/18/90, quote, "On Wednesday, a branch store opened at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, NY, ..."
  13. ^ Article ID: 9204280747 Published on April 28, 1992, Syracuse Herald-Journal (NY) OIL CITY TANK FARMS CONDEMNED
  14. ^ a b c "Borders bookstore in Carousel Center mall will be closing in March". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  15. ^ Published on July 6, 1995, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) IMPACT OF NEW PLAZA AT CAROUSEL LANDING IS TOPIC OF HEARING,
  17. ^ 9806100030 Published on June 10, 1998, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DOORS ARE CLOSING AT CAROUSEL CENTER'S HOMEPLACE
  18. ^ "Bankruptcy Beats the Wiz". The Post-Standard. December 17, 2006. 9712180225. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  19. ^ "Carousel Mall Still Looking for Lechmere Replacement". Syracuse Herald-Journal. September 24, 1997. 9709240947. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  20. ^ Article ID: 9711020160 Published on November 2, 1997, Syracuse Herald American (NY) CAROUSEL SPINS GRAND PLAN
  22. ^ Article ID: 9711010364 Published on November 1, 1997, Syracuse Herald-Journal (NY) CAROUSEL CENTER'S SIZE COULD DOUBLE PYRAMID COS. PLANS A MAJOR EXPANSION OF THE MALL.
  23. ^ Article ID: 9806140137 Published on June 14, 1998, Syracuse Herald American (NY) COMPUSA COMING SOON TO CAROUSEL CENTER,
  24. ^ Article ID: 9808160034 Published on August 16, 1998, Syracuse Herald American (NY) ELECTRONICS COMING BACK TO CAROUSEL IN A BIG WAY
  25. ^ NOW ENTERING KAHUNAVILLE, A PLACE TO EAT AND BE DAZZLED: [FINAL EDITION] Niedt, Bob. Syracuse Herald American [Syracuse, N.Y] October 11, 1998: E1.
  26. ^ "Ames Takes Over the Hills Store Sites". Syracuse Herald American. January 24, 1999. 9901240051. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  27. ^ Article ID: 9910240113 Published on October 24, 1999, Syracuse Herald American (NY) NEW SHOE WAREHOUSE STEPS INTO CAROUSEL
  28. ^ October 27, 1999, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) BALLY BRINGS IN "BAYWATCH' AND ESPN FOR MALL OPENING,
  29. ^ 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
  30. ^ Published on November 1, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) NEW NAME, NEW LOOK,
  31. ^ Article ID: 0111030471 Published on November 4, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY)
  32. ^ Article ID: 0111290178 Published on November 29, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY USA'S NEW DEAL
  33. ^ Article ID: 0112010126 Published on December 1, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DRISCOLL PUSHES FOR A NEW MALL DEAL
  34. ^ Article ID: 0112010394 Published on December 2, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) MALL WILL BE OBSOLETE LONG BEFORE ITS PAID FOR
  35. ^ Article ID: 0112070157 Published on December 7, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) WALL STREET WANTS MALL IN PHASES, PYRAMID TELLS COUNTY
  36. ^ Article ID: 0112150254 Published on December 15, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY ATRIUM PLAN UNFOLDS,
  37. ^ "Ailing Ames Calls it Quits". The Post-Standard. August 15, 2002. 0208150063. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  38. ^ "Destiny's Developer in One Courtroom After Another." Syracuse Post-Standard. April 9, 2006
  39. ^ Published on December 9, 2002, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY'S LATEST PLAN IS LARGEST WATER PARK
  40. ^ Published on August 3, 2005, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) SPORTS AUTHORITY OPENS IN CAROUSEL IN OCTOBER,
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Macy's Plans to Make It's Big Splash Sept. 9". The Post-Standard. August 16, 2006. 0608160080. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  43. ^ "CompUSA to Close at Carousel". The Post-Standard. August 5, 2006. 0608050044. Retrieved November 20, 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  44. ^ "Syracuse's Carousel Center mall getting a major re-do as H&M switches to new space". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  45. ^ "Carousel foundation work to begin today" Syracuse Post Standard Moriarty, Rick 8/9/07
  46. ^ Niedt, Bob. "Swath of Syracuse's Destiny USA – the expansion of Carousel Center – opening today". The Post-Standard. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  47. ^ "Carousel Center to add Italian section". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  48. ^ "What's in store for Destiny USA's first phase?". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  49. ^ "Citigroup says Destiny USA has no tenants; work comes to halt". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  50. ^ "Workers install glass panels on Carousel Center mall expansion". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  51. ^ "Destiny wants to track shopping habits in exchange for profits". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  52. ^ "Ultimate Electronics, which has a store at Syracuse's Carousel Center mall, files for bankruptcy protection". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  53. ^ "Syracuse says goodbye April 9 to the short-lived Ultimate Electronics store in Carousel Center mall". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  54. ^ "TWC News – Central NY – Syracuse, Ithaca, Utica, Cortland, Oswego, CNY". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  55. ^ "As the Carousel Center expansion fills, here's what you told us (and the developers) about what's in your dream mall". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  56. ^ "Carousel Center mall in Syracuse will soon get busy on some major retail shifts and expansions". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  57. ^ "A new anchor for Syracuse's Carousel Center as Forever 21 takes over H&M's spot". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  58. ^ WRVO, Ryan Delaney,. "Grand plans for Destiny USA laid to rest". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  59. ^ "The Carousel Center mall name rides into the sunset as Syracuse's super-regional mall officially becomes Destiny USA". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  60. ^ Guse, Maren (June 6, 2012). "Burlington Coat Factory to open at Destiny USA this fall". WSTM. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  61. ^ "Syracuse's Destiny USA adds another upscale restaurant; Dick's Sporting Goods opens". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  62. ^ "'World's largest' ropes challenge course to soar above Destiny USA's Canyon floor". Retrieved October 19, 2017. 
  63. ^ "July 2013 Press Kit". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  64. ^ "News – Press Releases from Destiny USA". 
  65. ^ "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. 
  66. ^ "Upscale bowling alley at Destiny USA set to close this week". Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  67. ^ "Home furnishing superstore opens today at Destiny USA". 
  68. ^ "Destiny USA Embassy Suites opens $48 million hotel, see first photos". Retrieved April 28, 2018. 

External links[edit]