6 dead Syracuse shopping malls: See what they are now

Syracuse, N.Y. — News that Amazon is interested in turning empty mall space around the country into fulfillment centers got us thinking: What dead malls in the Syracuse area have found new life?

Turns out, six of them have, either by repurposing the empty buildings or by unleashing the wrecking ball and constructing a totally new development.

Two others — ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt and Great Northern Mall in Clay ― still await redevelopment. But here’s a look at the six dead malls that have come back from the ashes.

Tri-County Mall

Landings at Meadowood

The Tri-County Mall in Baldwinsville was demolished in 2014. The Landings at Meadowood, a 443-unit apartment complex, now stands in its place. Rick Moriarty | [email protected]

Opened in 1974 on Downer Street in Baldwinsville, the Tri-County Mall featured Dey Bros., Flah’s and Wells & Coverly as anchor stores. By the early 2000s, though, it was down to just a few retail tenants.

In 2014, the mall was demolished. It’s now the site of a 443-unit apartment complex named The Landings at Meadowood.

Camillus Mall
Camillus Mall

Two girls walk around Camillus Mall in 1987. Syracuse Post-Standard

Camillus Commons

Camillus Mall in Camillus was demolished in 2003. Camillus Commons, a shopping plaza with anchors that include Walmart and Lowe’s, stands in its place. Rick Moriarty | [email protected]

Opened as a shopping plaza on West Genesee Street in Camillus in the 1960s, Camillus Plaza was converted into a mostly enclosed retail center and renamed Camillus Mall by the 1980s. But its fortunes began to wane even before the much larger Carousel Center mall opened down the road in Syracuse in 1990.

In 2003, Camillus Mall was demolished. A shopping plaza known as Camillus Commons was built in its place. Its anchors include Walmart and Lowe’s.

Penn Can Mall
Penn Can Mall 1988

Christmas shoppers pack the Central Court at the Penn Can Mall in Cicero in 1988.Syracuse Post-Standard

Driver's Village 2020

Driver’s Village is a collection of 16 car dealerships at the former Penn Can Mall in Cicero. Rick Moriarty | [email protected]

Opened in 1976 on Circle Drive in Cicero, the Penn Can Mall boasted more than 30 stores, with Sears its primary anchor. But when Sears moved to the newly opened Great Northern Mall in Clay in the late 1980s, Penn Can died fast. It closed in 1996.

Car dealer Roger Burdick bought it in 2000 and turned it into a gigantic auto mall known as Driver’s Village. It contains 16 dealerships. Burdick even refurbished the mall’s famous antique Central Court street clock.

Marketplace Mall
1982 Press Photo Cicero-Marketplace Mall shoppers

Shoppers walk through the Marketplace Mall in Cicero in 1982.Syracuse Post-Standard

Market Place

The Marketplace Mall in Cicero closed in the mid-1990s and demolished. Market Place, a shopping plaza that includes a Price Chopper supermarket and a Lowe’s home improvement store, stands in its place.Rick Moriarty | [email protected]

Opened in 1984 right next to the Penn Can Mall in Cicero, Marketplace Mall featured electronics retailer Service Merchandise and other discount outlets.

It always struggled next to its big brother, Penn Can, though, and it closed in the mid-1990s. The mall was demolished and a shopping plaza that includes a Price Chopper supermarket and a Lowe’s home improvement store was built in its place. It’s named simply Market Place.

Fayetteville Mall
Fayetteville Mall 1975

A shopper walks past a fountain in the Fayetteville Mall in 1975. When the mall opened a year earlier, the Herald-American said it “is like a springtime stroll the year round, with the mall’s beautiful fountains, complete air conditioning, lovely artificial foliage and comfortable rest benches.The Post-Standard

Towne Center at Fayetteville

The Fayetteville Mall died in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, Cor Development Co. turned it into a shopping plaza named Towne Center at Fayetteville, with anchors including Tops supermarket. Rick Moriarty | [email protected]

Opened in 1974 on North Burdick Street in Fayetteville, the Fayetteville Mall had a Sears and for a while was Onondaga County’s largest shopping center.

The 1990s were not kind to it, though. In 1995, Sears moved to nearby ShoppingTown Mall. In the early 2000s, Cor Development Co. acquired the mall and transformed it into a successful shopping plaza named Towne Center at Fayetteville. Its tenants include Tops supermarket, Kohl’s department store, Target, L.L. Bean, Stickley Furniture, T.J. Maxx and a bunch of restaurants.

Seneca Mall
1992 Press Photo Chappell's Store Entrance Sign at Seneca Mall in Clay

The Chappell’s department store at the Seneca Mall in Clay in 1992. Syracuse Post-Standard

U-Haul

The former Kmart store at the Seneca Mall in Clay has been turned into a U-Haul self-storage facility. (Photo shot Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.) (Rick Moriarty | [email protected])Rick Moriarty | [email protected]

Built in 1971 on Route 57 in Clay, the Seneca Mall was anchored by Kmart and for a while Chappell’s department store. It was converted into a shopping plaza named The Shops at Seneca Mall in the 1990s.

Its biggest tenant, Kmart, closed in 2018. (Raymour & Flanigan Furniture and Mattress Clearance Center on the northern end of the property is separately owned and not technically part of the plaza.)

The same year Kmart closed, the mall was purchased by U-Haul, which has turned much of it into a rental center and self-storage facility. It’s now named U-Haul Moving & Storage at Seneca Mall.

MORE: Amazon in talks to turn empty mall spaces into fulfillment centers

Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Got a tip, comment or story idea? Contact him anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148

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