The Pyramid Companies

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The Pyramid Companies
Private
Industry Real estate
Founded 1970
Founder Robert J. Congel
Headquarters Syracuse, New York
Number of locations
17 malls/power centers (2017)
Area served
New York State, Massachusetts, Northern Virginia
Key people

Robert J. Congel, CEO

Timothy J. Kelley, President
Products Shopping malls, power centers
Services Management and development
Website www.pyramidmg.com

The Pyramid Companies (also known as Pyramid Management Group) were formed in 1970 in Syracuse, New York by Robert J. Congel. The first three malls the company built were the Pyramid Mall Johnstown in Johnstown, New York,[1] Pyramid Mall Fulton in Fulton, New York,[2] and Pyramid Mall Oneonta in Oneonta, New York.[3] All three malls opened in 1972. Each mall featured a White-Modell's department store and Loblaws supermarket as anchors. These malls were much smaller, community-type centers compared to the company's current malls.

The next three malls built by Pyramid, regarded as the company's "pioneer malls", were Pyramid Mall Ithaca (later The Shops at Ithaca Mall) in Lansing, New York, Pyramid Mall Plattsburgh (later Champlain Centre South) in Plattsburgh, New York, and Pyramid Mall Saratoga (later Saratoga Mall) in Saratoga Springs, New York. All three malls opened in 1975 and marked the beginning of an advance in shopping center construction and ownership. Of these three malls, the Plattsburgh and Saratoga properties were demolished for strip centers, but the Ithaca property still continues to operate as an enclosed mall.

Currently, Pyramid is the largest privately owned developer of shopping malls in the country. The company currently owns 17 properties in total, with 13 in New York, three in Massachusetts and one in Virginia.[4]

Pyramid developed and currently manages four out of the 20 most visited shopping malls in America - Destiny USA in Syracuse, New York (which is prominently featured on the company's website[5]), Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York, Walden Galleria in Buffalo, New York, and Crossgates Mall in Albany, New York.

List of properties[edit]

Current properties[edit]

Malls[edit]

New York[edit]
Massachusetts[edit]
Virginia[edit]

Power Centers[edit]

New York[edit]

Past properties[edit]

The following is a list of malls and power centers that were either closed by Pyramid, or sold to another company.

New York[edit]

Massachusetts[edit]

Concepts[edit]

ThEATery[edit]

The "ThEATery" concept was developed by the Pyramid Companies in conjunction with the opening of Palisades Center in 1998. It mixes movie theaters and upscale restaurants together for a combination of a movie/dinner experience. Currently, there are two centers with the ThEATery concept - with a major renovation and expansion at the Walden Galleria in 2007. Scott R. Congel (son of Robert J. Congel) had also stated his intention to use the ThEATery concept in Medley Centre project in Irondequoit, a suburb of Rochester, New York. Mr. Congel lost the mall in winter 2016 for failure to pay his payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) obligations to the Town of Irondequoit and the Irondequoit School District after the mall sat nearly vacant for years.

A predecessor to this can be seen in the expanded portion of Crossgates Mall as that mall's Johnny Rockets and Houlihan's are located across from that mall's theaters. Also, the Galleria at Crystal Run has a new Johnny Rockets location, and a couple of new restaurants located near its movie theaters as well.

Policies[edit]

MB-18[edit]

MB-18 sign at Holyoke Mall at Ingleside

In 2005, Pyramid began the implementation of a Parental Escort policy (branded MB-18) at the group's largest malls. The policy states that between 4:00 p.m. and closing on Friday and Saturday evenings, all children younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older (exceptions are made for mall employees under 18 not employed at anchor stores and, depending on cases, those with valid college identification). This policy, similar to one that originated at the Mall of America in 1996 from 6:00 pm to closing (it was changed to 4:00 pm at around the same time Pyramid initiated its MB-18 policy), is currently in effect at Destiny USA (Syracuse), Crossgates Mall (Albany), Galleria at Crystal Run (Middletown, NY), Walden Galleria (Cheektowaga-Buffalo, NY), Holyoke Mall at Ingleside, and the Poughkeepsie Galleria. All Pyramid Malls have security programs managed by IPC International).

Smoke-Free Environment[edit]

In 2010, Pyramid implemented a non-smoking policy unlike any other at Destiny USA - this policy restricts smoking, not only inside the shopping center, but outside as well. The policy covers the entire mall property. The response to the policy was so positive, Pyramid quickly implemented their Smoke Free Environment across all Pyramid owned shopping centers.

Controversy[edit]

Black Friday[edit]

In November 2014, the Pyramid-owned Walden Galleria in Buffalo, NY was involved in a national controversy regarding their Black Friday policy. Mall management told their tenants that they must open at 6:00pm on Thanksgiving Day, or be fined $200 for every hour, up to a maximum of $1200.[6] This was because all mall stores were expecting to open at midnight. A local radio station reported that a mandatory notice was posted around the mall stating "we caution you to be open at 6 pm when the rest of the mall opens."[7] When owners of smaller stores in the mall found out about the policy, they quickly spoke out against it. The manager of a small T-shirt store located in the mall said it forced him to open the shop because "[we are] a small company" and the fine would "substantial to us."[8] Local citizens outraged by this policy also spoke out against it, with a massive boycott against the mall organized at 12:00am on Black Friday, with over 4,000 people purportedly attending,[9] which encouraged shoppers to "steer clear" of the Walden Galleria. An Indiegogo campaign entitled Coffee and Cheer on Thanksgiving Day was also started to deliver coffee to the mall employees "forced to work at supper time" during Thanksgiving.

Although Pyramid did continue to enforce this policy, it shifted some of the blame to anchor tenant Macy's, who was a major proponent of Thanksgiving sales nationwide, for pressuring the mall into adopting the policy.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "local news page". extras.leaderherald.com. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  2. ^ "Oswego Valley News Digital Newspaper" (PDF). fultonhistory.com. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  3. ^ Star, Daily. "Oneonta's first shopping mall, Pyramid Mall, opened in 1972". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  4. ^ "Pyramid Management Group - Portfolio". www.pyramidmg.com. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  5. ^ "Pyramid Management Group - Destiny USA". www.pyramidmg.com. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  6. ^ a b Kaufman, Alexander (November 14, 2014). "Buffalo-Area Mall Threatens To Fine Stores That Don't Open On Thanksgiving". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ "WOW: Galleria Mall Stores To Be Fined If They Don't Open On Thanksgiving? [VIDEO]". Country 106.5 WYRK Radio. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  8. ^ "Mall Will Fine Stores if They Don't Open on Thanksgiving". Money. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  9. ^ "Galleria Mall Boycott". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 

External links[edit]