Destiny USA

Destiny USA
Destiny USA logo

Destiny USA in 2013
Location Syracuse, New York, USA
Coordinates 43°04′15″N 76°10′13″W / 43.0709°N 76.1703°W / 43.0709; -76.1703Coordinates: 43°04′15″N 76°10′13″W / 43.0709°N 76.1703°W / 43.0709; -76.1703
Address 9090 Destiny USA Dr, Syracuse, NY 13204
Opening date October 15, 1990 (1990-10-15)
Developer The Pyramid Companies (EklecCo)
Owner The Pyramid Companies
No. of stores and services 300+
No. of anchor tenants 19
Total retail floor area 2.4 million square feet
No. of floors 6 (4 retail)
Parking 5,500

Destiny USA, previously known as the Carousel Center from 1990-2012, is a six-story super-regional shopping and entertainment complex on the shore of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, New York. It is the sixth largest shopping center in the nation, and the largest in the state of New York. Anchors include JCPenney, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, Forever 21, DSW, Old Navy, Sears Outlet, Finish Line, and Off 5th. The mall, which opened on 15 October 1990,[1] has six above ground floors and one underground floor, though only the lower three and the underground floor are retail. The fourth floor is primarily center offices. The third floor includes a 19-screen Regal Cinemas, restaurants, and entertainment options. The first and second floors span the length of the mall and house the various shops, vendors, restaurants and entertainment venues, with the major food court and namesake carousel being located on the second floor. The underground "Commons" floor houses medium-sized stores, a chapel, some kiosks, and the two underground parking garages, one of which also houses Best Buy's installation center.[2] The Commons is only in the 1990 mall, not the 2012 addition.

Destiny USA has outside parking surrounding the mall on nearly all sides, on the Hiawatha Boulevard side parking is located across the street from the mall and is accessed by a bridge that enters the second floor of the 2012 addition. Parking includes one above ground and two underground parking garages. The mall is served by CENTRO buses.[3] There are main entrances on nearly all sides, as well as access through most of the anchors and from the underground parking.

Destiny USA is also home to the first mall with a go-kart track in it. Pole Position Raceway opened in 2012 in the expansion part of the mall on the entertainment floor (3rd floor).


Destiny USA in its Carousel Center form, before expansion

The site of Destiny USA was originally a landfill named Marley Scrap Yard, surrounded by several square blocks of oil tanks, collectively named "Oil City".[4] South of these oil tanks sat the Franklin Square industrial neighborhood. In 1987 The Pyramid Companies began studying redevelopment of the neighborhood and that July announced plans for a 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2) shopping center at the scrap yard site.[5] The plan was not without controversy. A smaller mall (The Galleries of Syracuse, now offices) had recently finished construction in Downtown Syracuse and there was concern that the mall at Oil City would put an end to downtown retail.[6]

Two of the biggest opponents to the project were the competing mall developers in the area, Wilmorite Corp. and Eagan Real Estate Inc, which both operated several malls in Syracuse's suburbs. Wilmorite, which was constructing the Great Northern Mall in nearby Clay, was accused by the Syracuse city government of using associates in Connecticut to form the "Citizen's League for an Environmentally Acceptable Northeast," which lobbied against construction of a mall at Oil City.[7] Eagan meanwhile filed criticism of the mall, claiming that a 25 percent drop in downtown retail sales would occur if the mall was built.[8] It proposed an additional downtown mall with a "Walt Disney-like attraction."[9]

During construction, the mall faced several delays, primarily around environmental cleanup,[10] before opening on October 15, 1990 as Carousel Center.,[11] named for the 1908 Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel operating within the mall.

When it opened, Carousel Center featured a unique mix of discount and upscale department stores. Charter anchors included JCPenney, Kaufmann's, Steinbach, Lechmere, Chappell's, Hills, and the last Bonwit Teller ever built. Each department store was two levels, except Steinbach and Lechmere shared a building, with a store on each level, as well as Chappell's and Hills. A basement "Commons" area featured covered parking and additional junior anchors, including The Rx Place[12] and Filene's Basement.[13]

Another unique feature of the mall was the Skydeck, which was on the top levels of the central tower. This offered an events space that would be used for fundraisers, proms, fashion shows, and many public and private uses.[14]

Mid to late 1990s

In 1992, The Pyramid Companies began clearing oil tanks south of the mall for a strip center called Carousel Landing, which would feature 650,000 square feet of additional retail.[15]

In 1994, Lord & Taylor opened as the last new anchor, removing the last of the oil tanks on the property.[16] The same year, Borders Books & Music opened a two-level store, replacing a side corridor with entrance.[17]

By 1995, Carousel Landing had still not appeared, partially tied up due to potential environmental impact,[18] though by 1996 The Pyramid Companies finally got approval to condemn the oil tanks.[19]

Steinbach was replaced with Home Place, a northeast-based upscale home furnishings store, which closed two years later.[20] Nobody Beats the Wiz also opened that year in the Commons level, but had an even shorter life: it opened in the summer of 1996 and closed by the end of 1997 due to the chain's financial troubles.[21]

In November 1997, less than a month after Lechmere closed (a result of parent company Montgomery Ward eliminating the chain),[22] Pyramid Companies announced that instead of building Carousel Landing, they would build an expansion to Carousel Center that would double the mall size. Under this plan, the expansion would house about 150 new stores and three anchors, with many of the stores both new to the market and not being in traditional malls. Pyramid officials say that the expansion would be complete by the year 2000.[23][24][25]

1998 brought the opening of a CompUSA in the Commons Level,[26] Best Buy in part of the former HomePlace/Steinbach place,[27] and a Kahunaville in the Commons Level as well.[28]

In 1999, Hills was acquired and rebranded by Ames.[29] In March of that year, DSW Shoe Warehouse opened in part of the former Lechmere,[30] and October 1999 brought the opening of Bally Total Fitness, with a grand opening featuring the cast of Baywatch.[31] The Bally Total Fitness filled in the remaining part of HomePlace/Steinbach that wasn't taken by Best Buy.

Early 2000s

In March 2000, Bonwit Teller closed, ending the legacy of the legendary New York department store. By now, all the post-1988 Bonwit Teller stores had long closed down. The space was taken later that year by one of the first American locations of H&M. It was also the first mall location. In May of that year, Kaufmann's Furniture Galleries opened in the mall, in the other half of the former Lechmere.[32]

In 2001, Xpress Place (formerly The Rx Place) closed as parent company Phar-Mor went bankrupt.[33] The same year, Pyramid cancelled the previous expansion project for a project that would triple, not double, the size of the mall, and rename it as "DestiNY USA".[34] The Skydeck was closed for offices of this new megamall.[35] Pyramid Companies promised an extravagant experience in which diners could eat at restaurants while watching people in wave pools, or visiting the aquarium on the site, among other things.[36] There would also be a large Central New York Visitors Center inside the mall.[37] However, the path to DestiNY USA would not be easy. Pyramid needed public funds and tax breaks to make the project possible, and people worried that the mall would be obsolete before all of it was paid.[38][39] Eventually it was decided that the mall would be developed in phases, with the 800,000 square foot addition coming first.[40] Despite this, Pyramid continued to unveil further plans for Destiny USA including a year-round glass-enclosed park and amphitheaters.[41] Eventually, the large tax breaks and the magnitude of the project would gain much controversy.

In 2002, Ames closed when the corporate parent went bankrupt.[42] At about the time of Ames closing, construction of the $180 million, 47 floor, 1,300 room Grand Destiny hotel purportedly began with a ceremony during which a steel beam was driven into a Carousel Center parking lot. At least 40 more pilings were driven over the next three weeks, but construction stopped by December 2. The stated reason was a dispute about whether this hotel would be considered "leasable space", which is a term used in the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between the county and the developer.[43]

In December 2002, Pyramid Companies announced that DestiNY USA would hold the world's largest indoor waterpark, featuring a lazy river that would take tubers down to it.[44]

In 2004, DSW moved down into the Commons Level while Circuit City took its place.

Mid to late 2000s

In August 2005, Sports Authority moved into a part of Ames (the rest of the store remains vacant)[45] and in November 2005, Steve & Barry's University Sportswear opened in the former Kahunaville restaurant.[46]

In September 2006, Kaufmann's was converted into a Macy's,[47] though the Kaufmann's Furniture Galleries was closed. Federated also closed down CompUSA earlier that year, which it owned at the time.[48]

In 2007, Pyramid Companies moved forward with the first phase of Destiny USA (the NY no longer emphasized at this point): a new addition that would add 800,000 square feet to Carousel Center. Part of Borders was closed down, including the exterior entrance.[49] Additionally, H&M's exterior entrance was sealed, demolishing a covered drive-up dating back to the days as a Bonwit Teller.[50] The project was planned to be a green building, powered entirely by renewable resources. Preparatory groundwork for the first phase, an 1,300,000-square-foot (120,000 m2) expansion of the 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) Carousel Center, began in April, 2007, and pile driving for the structure's foundation began on August 9, 2007.[51] Above-ground construction began on March 28, 2008.[52]

The Pyramid Companies never announced any tenants for this new addition. In August 2008, it was announced that about 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) would be dedicated to a "Made in Italy" section with 27,000 square feet (2,500 m2) for restaurants, wine bars, and coffee bars and 150 stores with Italian brands and products.[53][54]

Despite the fact that Steve & Barry's closed in late 2008, and Circuit City closed in early 2009 due to the respective bankruptcies, Pyramid announced that the new addition would be called "Arendi", which would not feature a miniature re-creation of the Erie Canal as planned.[55] Shortly thereafter, Citigroup, the primary construction lender, stopped funding the Destiny USA project. Citigroup said that Destiny USA had no tenants lined up for the mall expansion and wanted Pyramid to cover 15.2 million dollars in cost overruns. As a result, construction came to a virtual halt[56] with the last work happening in August 2009, when workers enclosed the unfinished addition.[57]

During this time, it was leaked that Arendi would use RFID technology but required tenants to turn over profits to Destiny USA.[58] As courtroom battles continued during this time, and the mall cycled through tenants. A short-lived Ultimate Electronics (in the old Circuit City space) opened in August 2010 [59] but closed in April 2011.[60] Borders closed in January 2011 due to lease disagreements, months before the chain would go out of business as a whole.[61]

In May 2011, an agreement between Citigroup and Congel was finalized and the addition continued. This time, the "Arendi" name and scheme was dropped in favor of a retail mix featuring entertainment, luxury stores, and outlet stores. Documents from the trail show several stores in the new expansion are leased, including Off 5th.[62] A Q&A with Syracuse Post-Standard was done in June asking what would people like to see in Destiny USA, with Destiny officials listening in. Residents listed several ideas, including entertainment venues like Dave & Buster's, upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus, restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, but nothing was officially announced. It is mentioned that the "Made In Italy" feature had fallen through.[63]

During the summer and into the fall, many new tenants were announced for the addition, including The Melting Pot, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, Lenox china, and many others. In November 2011, parts of the new addition opened mostly featuring temporary holiday stores and signs showing yet to come. About this time, but announced earlier that year[64] Forever 21 and H&M essentially switched places, with H&M taking a large in-line space that replaced the old Forever 21 and part of the Borders, while Forever 21 moved to the old H&M, which extruded the original storefront.[65]

In June 2012, it was announced that any further expansions to Destiny USA (including the glass-enclosed park, water features, hotels and technology park) were officially cancelled.[66]

By late summer of 2012, the webpage merged in with the webpage, as new signage went up. In August 2012, the mall's name officially changed to "Destiny USA".,[67] ending all references to Carousel Center. New major stores in the mall included Burlington Coat Factory[68] in the Commons level, Dick's Sporting Goods[69] and Off 5th. P.F. Chang's and Dave and Buster's are some of the new restaurants to open. New amusement activities include WonderWorks, Billy Beez Indoor Play Park, Revolutions Entertainment; a bowling and restaurant venue with a bar and dance area, and Pole Position Indoor Go-Karting.

On June 14, 2013, Regal Cinemas opened their IMAX & RPX screens featuring Man of Steel in 3D. The IMAX & RPX also feature a separate entrance and concession stand.[70]

On January 4, 2015 it was announced via the Destiny USA website that Nordstrom, Inc. would be opening a Nordstrom Rack retail store. The 33,357-square-foot store opened in fall of 2015. The new store is located on the first level next to The Cheesecake Factory and across from the Armani Outlet.[71] The Bon-Ton announced that it would close its store in the mall in late 2015.[72] In June 2016, Sports Authority closed due to the company filing for bankruptcy.


Department Stores




Food Court


Entertainment Anchors


  1. "Carousel Center Opens to Raves". The Post-Standard. 1990-10-16. 8810110383. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  2. Carousel Center. "PDF Directory Download" (PDF). Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  3. "CENTRO Carousel Center Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  4. "Carousel Center 20th Anniversary (1990-2010)" (PDF). Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  5. "Mall Planned for Oil City". The Post-Standard. 1987-07-11. 8707140226. Retrieved 19 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  6. "Galleries Already Feels Pyramid Mall's Heat". The Post-Standard. 1987-12-15. 8712150114. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  7. "Anti-Oil City Organization Called Sham". Syracuse Herald-Journal. 1987-10-25. 8810250346. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  8. "Eagan Officially Files Criticism of Pyramid's Proposed Mall". Syracuse Herald-Journal. 1987-10-14. 8712140408. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  9. "Eagan Floats Alternatives to Oil City". Syracuse Herald-Journal. 1987-10-14. 8801300012. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  10. "Carousel Center Mall to Open a Year Later than First Planned". Syracuse Herald-Journal. 1988-10-11. 8810110383. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  11. "Carousel Center Opens to Raves". The Post-Standard. 1990-10-16. 8810110383. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  13. "Filene's Basement Branching Out Again", Boston Globe, 10/18/90, quote, "On Wednesday, a branch store opened at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, NY, ..."
  14. "Carousel Center 20th Anniversary (1990-2010)" (PDF). Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  15. Article ID: 9204280747 Published on April 28, 1992, Syracuse Herald-Journal (NY) OIL CITY TANK FARMS CONDEMNED
  16. "Carousel Center 20th Anniversary (1990-2010)" (PDF). Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  18. Published on July 6, 1995, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) IMPACT OF NEW PLAZA AT CAROUSEL LANDING IS TOPIC OF HEARING,
  20. 9806100030 Published on June 10, 1998, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DOORS ARE CLOSING AT CAROUSEL CENTER'S HOMEPLACE
  21. "Bankruptcy Beats the Wiz". The Post-Standard. 2006-12-17. 9712180225. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  22. "Carousel Mall Still Looking for Lechmere Replacement". Syracuse Herald-Journal. 1997-09-24. 9709240947. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  23. Article ID: 9711020160 Published on November 2, 1997, Syracuse Herald American (NY) CAROUSEL SPINS GRAND PLAN
  25. Article ID: 9711010364 Published on November 1, 1997, Syracuse Herald-Journal (NY) CAROUSEL CENTER'S SIZE COULD DOUBLE PYRAMID COS. PLANS A MAJOR EXPANSION OF THE MALL.
  26. Article ID: 9806140137 Published on June 14, 1998, Syracuse Herald American (NY) COMPUSA COMING SOON TO CAROUSEL CENTER,
  27. Article ID: 9808160034 Published on August 16, 1998, Syracuse Herald American (NY) ELECTRONICS COMING BACK TO CAROUSEL IN A BIG WAY
  28. NOW ENTERING KAHUNAVILLE, A PLACE TO EAT AND BE DAZZLED: [FINAL EDITION] Niedt, Bob. Syracuse Herald American [Syracuse, N.Y] 11 Oct 1998: E1.
  29. "Ames Takes Over the Hills Store Sites". Syracuse Herald American. 1999-01-24. 9901240051. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  30. Article ID: 9910240113 Published on October 24, 1999, Syracuse Herald American (NY) NEW SHOE WAREHOUSE STEPS INTO CAROUSEL
  31. October 27, 1999, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) BALLY BRINGS IN "BAYWATCH' AND ESPN FOR MALL OPENING,
  32. Article ID: 0005311328 Published on May 31, 2000, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) FURNITURE STORE FILLS A NICHE KAUFMANN'S FURNITURE GALLERIES OPENS IN CAROUSEL CENTER FRIDAY
  34. Published on November 1, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) NEW NAME, NEW LOOK,
  35. "Carousel Center 20th Anniversary (1990-2010)" (PDF). Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  36. Article ID: 0111030471 Published on November 4, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY)
  37. Article ID: 0111290178 Published on November 29, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY USA'S NEW DEAL
  38. Article ID: 0112010126 Published on December 1, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DRISCOLL PUSHES FOR A NEW MALL DEAL
  39. Article ID: 0112010394 Published on December 2, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) MALL WILL BE OBSOLETE LONG BEFORE ITS PAID FOR
  40. Article ID: 0112070157 Published on December 7, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) WALL STREET WANTS MALL IN PHASES, PYRAMID TELLS COUNTY "Pyramid Cos. executives say it would be difficult to persuade Wall Street to lend all the money for the planned 3.2 million-square-foot expansion of Carousel Center if the mall developer sought all the loans in just one trip. Instead, Pyramid wants to take a proposal for 800,000 square feet to investors. That number, Pyramid executives say, would persuade lenders to buy into the start of an expansion that could eventually become one of the largest malls in North America..."
  41. Article ID: 0112150254 Published on December 15, 2001, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY ATRIUM PLAN UNFOLDS,
  42. "Ailing Ames Calls it Quits". The Post-Standard. 2002-08-15. 0208150063. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  43. "Destiny's Developer in One Courtroom After Another." Syracuse Post-Standard. April 9, 2006
  44. Published on December 9, 2002, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) DESTINY'S LATEST PLAN IS LARGEST WATER PARK
  45. Published on August 3, 2005, Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) SPORTS AUTHORITY OPENS IN CAROUSEL IN OCTOBER,
  47. "Macy's Plans to Make It's Big Splash Sept. 9". The Post-Standard. 2006-08-16. 0608160080. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  48. "CompUSA to Close at Carousel". The Post-Standard. 2006-08-05. 0608050044. Retrieved 20 November 2011. (subscription required (help)).
  51. "Carousel foundation work to begin today" Syracuse Post Standard Moriarty, Rick 8/9/07
  52. Niedt, Bob. "Swath of Syracuse's Destiny USA -- the expansion of Carousel Center -- opening today". The Post-Standard. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  70. Destiny USA, July 2013 Press Kit.
  72. "Bon-Ton closing stores in W. Virginia, Ohio and New York". York Dispatch. October 21, 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
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