Matt's Memo: Inside Syracuse's newly expanded Carousel Center

Destiny's David Aitken talks with Matt Mulcahy.

I remember the rain pouring down and turning into steam on the freshly poured hot pavement just outside the southwest entrance to Carousel Center. I was reporting on the pending opening of the brand new retail attraction just days before its opening in Syracuse. It was the fall of 1990.

21 years later I walked a few hundred feet from that precise location. That pavement has been replaced by a long anticipated and controversial expansion that will turn Carousel Center into Destiny. That parking lot is now a three story area nicknamed ~the canyon TM by the developers. A far reaching sky light caps off a dynamic space that will soon house retail, dining and entertainment options beyond what this region has previously enjoyed.

Destiny TMs David Aitken toured a group from our station through the construction zone. What looks like a big box on the outside is swiftly transferring from wide open indoor acreage to organized leasable space for tenants hoping to cash in on the hundreds of millions of dollars that pass through this regional attraction each year. Painters on lifts worked on adding earthy colors to the open beam construction of the common areas. Pyramid partner Bruce Kenan was working with designers on floor tile choices.

Kenan could hardly contain his excitement about the project finally pulling together after a lengthy delay due to a legal battle with Citigroup over financing. The recessed economy also stretched the timeline. The developer itself also shares blame for designs and ideas that reached high, but proved too much to turn to reality. Yet Kenan says his faith never waivered that Destiny would be completed.

We walked and talked about the green and sustainable principles being used in the construction and operation of the expansion. They are substantial in the use of rain water, renewable energy and reused materials. We talked about the plans to dress up the exterior big box look to enhance the public TMs view. We talked about a future with a hotel on site that could turn a visit to the mall into a full weekend excursion for out of town guests.

I also suggested Destiny TMs next project should include revamping vacant historic buildings in downtown Syracuse. Aitken reminded me of some past Pyramid projects that turned Franklin Square into a vital business and residential area.

Stores in the new Destiny should start opening on the edges in the coming weeks and much more in the coming months. The community will be impressed by the space, the design and the flow. The experience is sure to get people talking and shoppers traveling for their first trip to the new mall.

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