There are new developments in the ongoing saga over the Destiny USA project. Representatives for Destiny and Citigroup contacted CNY Central Friday to announce the resolution of a longtime dispute. It follows more than a year of difficult negotiations.
The confidential settlement to lawsuits between Citigroup and Destiny may pave the way for construction to resume and for contractors that worked on the Destiny USA project to be paid.
This project has been years in the making. A massive concrete structure was erected as part of the Carousel Mall expansion, but it has sat empty ever since.
For a time, steel beams graced the Syracuse skyline, with promises of thousands of jobs, new sales tax revenue and a boost in tourism for Central New York. None of that has come to fruition yet.
More than a year ago, Syracuse's largest construction project came to a grinding halt after Citigroup stopped a $155 million construction loan, saying Destiny executives failed to live up to their end of the bargain. For their part, Destiny execs disagreed. Their dispute ended up in court.
There's been no official reaction to the settlement from City Hall, but Councilor Bill Ryan told CNY Central he does not yet know what will happen with the project. Ryan is also head of the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency which oversees a controversial tax deal that cleared the way for Destiny. That deal was set to expire on August 1st, 2009 if the expansion was not completed by that time. When Citigroup pulled the plug on its financing, the city agreed to put the deadline on hold.
If you talk to most people in Syracuse about the project, they'll ask "Will it ever get done?" Some are optimistic, others fear the Carousel Mall expansion will never realize what it was marketed to become. Brittany Hoffmann of Baldwinsville said she was "pumped" at the prospect of a bigger mall, but "I just hope it works out."
Pat Dague of Syracuse said it's "debatable" whether Desiny could fill the expansion with tenants. "In this economy, I just wonder if they're able to follow through with this."
Today, there's a new step forward with the announcement of a resolution between the developer and the lender. Does this give you confidence the Destiny plan will become a reality? Leave your thoughts below.