TOWN OF CLAY N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – A Central New York commercial developer has signed a contract to purchase the dying Great Northern Mall in Clay.

The plan is to transform Great Northern Mall into a lifestyle center with luxury apartments, townhouses, a hotel, high-end shops, restaurants, and a movie theater.

But who’s the person behind this big purchase? Guy Hart Jr. of Hart Lyman Companies is the one choosing to invest in the troubled mall.

“We will have a great cross-section of shop space that will be a little bit of something for everybody, and the coolest part about it is that it’s going to have that village environment where you park your car, you walk around, and you enjoy your time with your family.”


The purchase price for Great Northern? More than $9.5 million. Hart tells NewsChannel 9 if all goes well, he believes the deal to purchase the mall will close this fall. He also has a similar proposal to revitalize Lakeshore Golf Course in Cicero.

Hart was able to secure the contract after County Executive Ryan McMahon encouraged developers to invest in Great Northern Mall.

McMahon tells NewsChannel 9 he is also pleased with these future plans, especially with a local company willing to invest in the property.

The driving force for Hart to purchase the mall comes as the Onondaga County Executive continues his efforts to attract a chip manufacturer at the White Pines Commerce Park in Clay, just three miles from Great Northern.

If the county secures the plant, that could mean a $40 to $90 billion dollar investment boost over the next 20 years.

“I don’t think people really understand how transformative it is going to be to this region.”


There are no immediate plans to close the mall. Right now, there are still about 17 stores in business at Great Northern.

Great Northern Mall’s current owner, Mike Kohan, still owes the county more than $3 million in taxes. As of February, $5,233,648 was owed.

Hart said business conversations with Kohan and his team have been fine.

“I know that he’s been frustrated by the circumstances of this site,” Hart said. “They have really many nice projects around the country, and this is just one that didn’t go the way they hoped it would, but I have been on the wrong side of some of this stuff before too and we’ve had good relations with him, and he’s been very good to deal with.”

The Onondaga County Executive’s office confirms Kohan’s taxes would be paid off with the purchase money if this deal goes through.