The Pyramid Companies finally have half a billion dollars worth of financing in place, and say they will move ahead this year with an expansion that will make Syracuse’s Carousel Center about fifty percent larger.
It will not look like this, one of many grandiose sketches inspired by the vision of developer Bob Congel. The indoor version of the Old Erie Canal that used to run through downtown Syracuse will have to wait.
The start of construction will come ten years after plans for what became known as Destiny USA were first announced. Building onto the mall was a switch away from the idea of building a giant strip mall near Carousel Center (the kind of “big box” center now stealing business away from enclosed malls like Carousel).
The Syracuse Post-Standard quotes Congel as saying we won’t see much in common between the mall addition and the existing center, which is to be updated after the addition is complete. Where will the money for that facelift come from? Will it take a long time to line up financing? Most of the community wants this venture to be successful, but skepticism lingers because of the project’s history.
Those who lived through it will remember a “groundbreaking ceremony” for the “Grand Destiny Hotel” parking structure in late 2002, an apparent exchange of favors between Bob Congel and Governor George Pataki, who was nearing the end of his final run for the state’s highest office. Pyramid passed out hard hats and little shovels to all hands and drove a piling into the mall parking lot.
Time passed. The work site disappeared, a hotel is not mentioned as part of the project’s next phase, and the whole thing was on hold for more than four years- until yesterday.