New ShoppingTown owners tout â??family-friendlyâ?? mall to compete with Destiny USA
By Jim Kenyon
Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:24:01 GMT — The new owners of ShoppingTown Mall, who were in DeWitt Wednesday morning to discuss the future of the mall with town officials, indicated their intent to compete with Destiny USA for stores and shoppers. The CEO, vice president, and marketing director of Moonbeam Capital Investments met with DeWitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko at the town hall to lay out their vision for the mall. The company purchased ShoppingTown at auction in August for $13.65 million. Moonbeam CEO Steven Maksin spoke with CNY Centralâ??s Jim Kenyon about the companyâ??s plans for the mall. Maksin promised the town they would "turn things around" at the mall, and says they are already working to attract new tenants. The company would not reveal exactly which stores they are trying to attract, but indicated a couple of â??big boxâ?? stores as part of a package deal with other smaller tenants. Maksin pointed to the companyâ??s success in turning around other malls as a reason that Central New Yorkers should be optimistic about ShoppingTownâ??s future. Maksin and Moonbeam marketing director Anna Khavulya mentioned the mallâ??s location, near two interstate highways, and ease of access as big selling points to potential tenants and shoppers alike. Khavulya says Moonbeam intends to market ShoppingTown as a "family-friendly and safe environment," as they have done with their other malls around the country. DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko says the meeting was "very positive" and he is "very encouraged" about the future of Shoppingtown. He says he hopes the property will become more of a mixed-use facility, which could involve residential and office space in addition to retail. "Now that the entire Moonbeam team has sat with DeWitt, County and library officials, it's clear the lines of communication are open and ShoppingTown is open for business," said Senator Charles Schumer in a statement. "The Town feels good about the opportunities that lie ahead and I'll continue help push the ball forward in any way I can. But most importantly, the news of the day is that ShoppingTown stakeholders, at long last, have some optimism and some certainty going forward." The 988,054 square foot mall on Erie Boulevard is currently at approximately two-thirds occupancy. It was originally developed as an open-air center in 1954, and redeveloped and enclosed in 1974. It was most recently renovated in 1992, which included an expansion. When asked about the taxes that the mallâ??s previous owners, Macerich Company of California, owe to the town, Michalenko said the town is still negotiating with Macerich about recouping some of the money owed. The town foreclosed on Shoppingtown in 2011 after Macerich failed to make a $39 million tax payment. Michalenko says the tax negotiations will affect the tax bill that will eventually be assigned to Moonbeam. He also raised the possibility of either a new assessment of the property or a PILOT agreement, but says that has yet to be worked out. DeWitt and Onondaga County split approximately $700,000 a year in property tax revenue.
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