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 tucke