Road to Destiny

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    Removing Oil City

    Carousel Center, settled on the shores of Onondaga Lake, is built in an area once considered a wasteland — the site was filled with acres of toxic and abandoned industrial sites. The area, dubbed Oil City, was filled to the brim with large gasoline holding tanks, visible from Interstate-81. The area was contaminated — oil from the tanks had leaked into the ground and a landfill had created hazardous waste.
    The tank farm was removed and the land was cleaned up.
  • Carousel Construction

    Construction of Carousel Center begins
  • Grand Opening

    The mall opened on Oct. 15, 1990, showcasing Carousel Center as one of the largest shopping centers in Central New York. From conception to opening day, it took about three years. The mall’s namesake is an authentic carousel from 1909. The carousel was passed between amusement parks, most recently in Roseland Park in Canandaigua, prior to being restored and brought to Carousel Center.
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    Acquiring Land

    The land surrounding the mall and the former Oil City was owned by oil companies and other developers. The city helped Pyramid Development Corp. use eminent domain to acquire the land for economic development. SIDA, or the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, determined the acquisition of the land was for important public purpose. The eminent domain use also helped propel deals between the developers and Pyramid.
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    PILOT agreement

    It means payment in lieu of taxes — it was a deal sketched between the city, county and Pyramid. Carousel was originally funded by a PILOT agreement. Here, the payments would help fund road upgrades and Destiny plans. In theory, anything lost in property taxes would be replaced by sales tax.
  • Dreaming Publicly

    Plans for the Carousel Center expansion blossomed. Smaller expansions, like Lord and Taylor’s in 1994, had already taken place. The big, lavish plans were presented in 2000, showcasing the resort-style project known as DestiNY USA. The brand has since dropped the uppercase NY. The idea was to create a mall bigger than the Mall of America in Minnesota. Pyramid worked with then-County Executive Nick Pirro to create the now-controversial PILOT agreement. Pyramid then began to dream publicly.
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    Beginning the path

    About $540 million worth of funding was approved for Destiny in early 2007, with construction starting in the spring. Prep work was done in 2007, and the first above-ground work was started in March 2008.
  • Cutting the funding

    Advances in the funding for a $155 million construction loan by Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. were cut off in May 2009. The bank was concerned with progresses in Destiny’s expansion, including higher costs, delays in construction and not enough signed tenants. Construction would be on pause for about two years.
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    Paving the path

    In March 2011, Citigroup and Pyramid were able to come to a consensus. A deal was cut and funds began to flow for the mall, again. Construction resumed in April on the expansion, and the first businesses and the portal opened in November. Public tours were offered as early as August.
  • Expansion Opens

    Expansion Opens
    The first part of the expansion opened for the public's perusal,