(WSYR-TV) — The man who led the transformation of Syracuse’s Oil City into mega shopping and entertainment complex has died.
Pyramid Management Group confirmed Thursday night that its founder Robert Congel died Wednesday afternoon. Congel is survived by his wife and five children.
Congel and his company built Carousel Center on the shore of Onondaga Lake. At the time it was the site of an old oil tank field and scrap yard.
Carousel Center opened in 1990 and after a major expansion project it became Destiny USA in 2012.
In addition to Destiny USA, Congel’s company owns 14 other shopping malls in the northeast, including Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, Sangertown Square in New Hartford, Walden Galleria in Buffalo, and Crossgates Mall in Albany.
Pyramid Management Group CEO Stephen Congel released the following statement:
“I can confirm the passing of my father, Robert J. Congel yesterday afternoon. He passed away very peacefully at home with his wife and 5 children at his side. Those that knew him know he was a force of nature, a visionary who saw many of his dreams realized while challenging us constantly with many more to fulfill. He changed many lives. Having been his son and also having the privilege of working with him for so many years, I know he was most proud of all the people he employed and whose careers he helped along the way. He gained far more joy and pride from the people that made up our company, as well as all the Pyramid alumni, than any building he ever built. The world will not be the same without him. We deeply appreciate the expression of sympathy from friends and family, colleagues, the community, and business partners during this difficult time.”
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh released the following statement on Thursday:
“Bob Congel will be remembered as one of the most influential business leaders in the history of Syracuse. His vision, tireless work ethic and determination helped transform the City of Syracuse, converting distressed and forgotten sites into valuable landmarks. He turned Oil City into Destiny USA; made the old New Process Gear plant the jewel of Franklin Square; and restored the old Federal Building into the majestic Clinton Exchange. My thoughts are with his family and all of the people of the Pyramid Companies.”