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Great Northern Mall property to get more than $1B redevelopment

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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A rendering of the plans for the more than $1 billion investment to “radically redevelop, rename, and redefine” the Great Northern Mall property in the town of Clay. The effort will include new housing, medical facilities, professional offices, a Clay Community Center, hotels and retail, and dining and entertainment options. IMAGE CREDIT: QPK DESIGN VIA HART LYMAN COMPANIES

CLAY, N.Y. — What’s described as a “more than a $1 billion investment” will bring new housing, medical facilities, professional offices, a Clay Community Center, hotels and retail, dining, and entertainment options to the Great Northern Mall property in the town of Clay.

The Hart Lyman Companies and Conifer Realty, LLC on March 14 revealed the next step in their plans to “radically redevelop, rename, and redefine” the former mall.

The firms say they have submitted a site application to the Town of Clay, following consultation with town and county leaders.

Hart Lyman Companies is headquartered at 500 Plum St. in Syracuse’s Franklin Square area, while Conifer Realty is based in Rochester.

The planned development of the 215-acre property will include a walkable town center, entertainment district, health and wellness campus, and a residential community — all located just a few miles from the planned Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) campus in Clay.

The project plans at the former Great Northern Mall include more than 600,000 square feet of retail, community, grocery, restaurant, and entertainment space; over 790,000 square feet of medical and office space; more than 750 hotel rooms; and several mixed-use clusters, each featuring 300 to 500 new housing units with “options for all members of the community who wish to call Clay home.”

The new Town of Clay Community Center will be a public venue where residents can go to socialize, participate in recreational or educational activities, and seek support services.

Hart Lyman and Conifer Realty contend “it will provide residents throughout the Syracuse MSA (metropolitan statistical area) with a recruitment tool for area businesses to address our area’s housing shortage and accommodate expected growth from the [Micron] project.”

Construction is set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, depending on finalizing permitting and approvals.

“This project is transformative for the Town of Clay and our region,” Guy Hart, Jr., managing partner of the Hart Lyman Companies, said in the announcement. “Our goal is to reverse decades of sprawl and segregation between housing and lifestyle amenities that isolate people from each other, stifle a sense of community and building relationships between neighbors. It will enable our community to redevelop a blighted mall into a truly unique and dynamic environment. Over the many months since we acquired the property, we brought on a best-in-class team of professionals to design an ambitious project. This site doesn’t just provide housing, it provides better housing and a recruitment tool for healthcare institutions, businesses that locate here and anyone who points to the inspiration it evokes. By providing housing, a new Town of Clay Community Center, medical facilities, and hotels, we will establish a premier site for Central New York that will accommodate future growth and create a unique living environment.”

Sam Leone, president of Conifer Realty, called it a “significant milestone” in the effort to “transform” Great Northern Mall.

“With our partners at Hart Lyman, and in collaboration with local leaders and stakeholders, we are on an exciting journey to revitalize this space into a vibrant community hub that will help to breathe new life into our region,” Leone said. “This project is not merely about revitalizing a mall; it’s about providing much needed high-quality, housing supply and choices and laying the foundation for a thriving community that meets the evolving needs of our area and fosters growth and prosperity for years to come.”

“The redevelopment of the former Great Northern Mall is a priority for the Town and this ambitious plan by Hart Lyman and Conifer will improve the quality of life for all the residents of Clay,” Town of Clay Supervisor Damian Ulatowski  said in the announcement. “With space for a Clay Community Center, housing, entertainment, and healthcare facilities, it will provide our residents with options they have never had before.”

The redevelopment plan is inspired by the vision of Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon for a county interspersed with vibrant “town centers” and articulated by Onondaga County’s comprehensive plan, the firms said. 

“We have always known the former Great Northern Mall site offered incredible potential to become a premier, center driven development. Thanks to the vision and partnership from Hart Lyman Companies and Conifer, that potential will soon be realized.” McMahon said. “This   redevelopment will establish a dynamic, engaging environment that will add much needed housing units as well as retail, office, grocery, restaurant and entertainment space. This transformational project is an important part of our efforts to ensure we maximize the opportunity in front of us and look forward to more exciting announcements in the future.”             

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