Destiny USA raises the bar

A LEED gold certification and a lofty lineup of retailers put Destiny USA on the map

When describing Destiny USA – the 2.4 million-sq.-ft. dining, entertainment, shopping and outlet megaplex in Syracuse, N.Y. – it’s a toss-up whether to emphasize the offerings and amenities, or highlight the project’s own brand of environmental consciousness.

Developed by Pyramid Management Group, Destiny USA is billed as the largest LEED Gold-certified retail commercial building in the world. But it is far more than an environmental leader. The circa 1990 property, which opened as Carousel Center and was rebranded to Destiny USA in August 2012, features more than 200 dining, entertainment and retail names such as Sephora, Coach, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, True Religion Brand Jeans, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, WonderWorks, Pole Position Raceway, Regal IMAX and RPX.

(If you noticed the outlet names mingled with the full-price offerings, that’s not in error. On the retail side, Destiny USA is a unique – and unexpected – hybrid of luxury outlet tenants with full-price retail.)

While today’s iteration melds the sweeping retail categories with dynamic design that includes a three-story atrium, and extras such as an interior rope adventure for kids, the property hasn’t always had this kind of cache.

Prior to the construction nearly 25 years ago of the original Carousel Center, the central New York State site was an unsightly scrap yard, landfill and oil tank farm spanning a multi-block area called Oil City. Pyramid’s founder and chairman Robert Congel had a far different vision for the area, spearheading a mammoth, three-year environmental cleanup and redevelopment effort that culminated in the Oct. 1990 opening of the 1-million-sq.-ft. Carousel Center.

Twenty years ago, that was a hot shopping mall. Charter anchors included J.C. Penney and now-extinct banners such as Hills, Lechmere and the last Bonwit Teller ever built. Lord & Taylor arrived in 1994. Not resting on its laurels, Pyramid planned a bigger, better, hotter iteration it internally labeled Destiny USA, but the plans remained tucked away until 2007, when the first phase got underway.

Over the next few years, Destiny USA took shape, as big tenant names committed and expansion square footage added a full level of entertainment, sit-down dining and an indoor outlet component. In 2011, retail openings included Lenox, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, BCBG MaxAzria, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cantina Laredo and The Melting Pot. The entire facility celebrating its official rebranding to Destiny USA in August 2012, and this year will see the addition of T.J. Maxx, Fossil Outlet, Johnston & Murphy, and Regal’s IMAX and RPX screens.

Developer Pyramid, however, is as proud of its environmental undertakings as the retail and entertainment offerings.

“It was a proud moment to achieve LEED gold certification and become the largest LEED Gold certified commercial building in the world,” said David Aitken, Destiny USA spokesman. “The team at Destiny USA dedicated years to developing an environmentally friendly facility to coincide with the beliefs of the company and its founder and chairman Robert Congel.”

In fact, Pyramid had announced in late 2011 that it would seek a LEED Gold certification for the expansion portion of the project, a move that would involve a host of cutting-edge sustainable features, including a solar reflective roof, renewable flooring, a comprehensive rainwater harvesting system – and all 100 new tenants within the expansion to obtain LEED certification.

For Destiny USA leasing information, contact: Pete Berardi at 315.466.6000 or

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