The first phase of a proposed plan to bring ShoppingTown Mall back to life was presented to Town of Dewitt officials Thursday. The mall's owner said ShoppingTown can't survive on retail and needs to be completely redeveloped in order to stay afloat. Elizabeth Jeneault explains what changes developers are planning to make and how the town feels about it.
DEWITT, N.Y. -- When Moonbeam Capital Investments purchased ShoppingTown Mall a year and a half ago, they had high hopes of finding retailers to fill vacant spaces. Over time, it became apparent that wouldn't happen.
"The Sears wing is not interesting to retailers, so the plan is to demolish one side of that wing that backs up to Erie Boulevard," said James Tull, of Moonbeam Capital Investments.
Demolishing 100,000 square feet of that wing's one side will allow Moonbeam to redevelop the remaining back side into a strip mall.
"We think that there's a place for retail, but not 1,000,000 square feet of space," said Tull.
The company is hoping the town will approve that first phase of work soon. Once that begins, Moonbeam said it'll be able to look into further phases of redevelopment. The company will seek help from the town in determining what that larger vision for the mall will be. Converting areas into apartment, office and hotel space may make sense.
"We're willing to do what is economically feasible and what will work for the community," said Tull. "It's not something that's our preference, it's whatever the community wants."
Town leaders think converting ShoppingTown into a mixed-use space makes sense.
"Cities like Cleveland, even Dayton, Ohio, have a lifestyle center which is really an area that was a shopping mall or is a new mall, but it has a mixture of uses and it is something that we would like to see at this site," said Sam Gordon, of the Town of Dewitt.
The company hopes that one day, converting ShoppingTown into that type of site will set it apart from stiff competition, like Destiny USA.
But before the company's first phase can get underway, town leaders want to hear more about Moonbeam's master plan for the mall's redevelopment.