Owners of ShoppingTown Mall propose major redesign

DeWitt (WSYR-TV) - The owners of ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt are proposing to dramatically change the look of the longstanding mall.

Moonbeam Capital Investments, the company that recently bought the mall, is pitching a plan to tear down a portion of the mall-- between Dick's Sporting Goods and Sears -- and replace it with a strip mall. And that's not all. They'd also like to build apartments, offices, restaurants, or perhaps a hotel in the space.

"We're going to be working with the town of DeWitt on a feasibility study, and we're trying to get a grant from state to do that. We'll determine what combination of residential, office, and hotel would work for this site," says James Tull, director of management and development at Moonbeam Capital Investments.

Moonbeam says shoppers today prefer strip malls, and that's what they're proposing to give them.

By tearing down the Sears wing and replacing it with a strip mall, Moonbeam says visitors would be able to see the storefronts when they drove by on Erie Boulevard, and visually it would be more inviting.

The planning board in the town of DeWitt says many shopping malls, across the country, are transforming into lifestyle centers. That's what they'd like to do in DeWitt.

"It's a center that mixes residential, retail, development, office uses and other entertainment uses like restaurants or movie theaters, all into a central place. It's like a downtown, but its in a shopping center," says Sam Gordon, director of planning and development for the town of DeWitt.

Planners are excited for change, but they have concerns.

"There are unanswered questions about how this first phase, fits into the overall redevelopment of mall," says Gordon.

The portion to be torn down is 100,000 square feet. The mall's total space is 1 million square feet.

Gordon says planners would like to know Moonbeam's plans for the entire mall.

Moonbeam says those questions will be answered as the project moves along.

DeWitt's planning board says this project isn't going to happen overnight.

Both the town and the county's planning boards will be reviewing the mall's proposal, and there will be public meetings to hear from the community.

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