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Syracuse firms to embark on redevelopment project at ShoppingTown Mall property

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

A rendering of the future redevelopment of ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt by OHB Redev LLC, a joint venture that Onondaga County chose to redevelop the property. RENDERING CREDIT: ONONDAGA COUNTY

DeWITT — A group of Syracuse firms plans to redevelop ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt in a project spanning multiple years.

OHB Redev LLC is a joint venture that includes Redev CNY; Hueber-Breuer Construction Co. Inc.; DalPos Architects; and Housing Visions.

OHB Redev LLC will buy the property for $8 million and invest at least $300 million into the site over the course of a “several year redevelopment,” per a July 21 Onondaga County announcement.

The companies haven’t yet determined when the project will begin, according to Ryan Benz, a partner in OHB Redev LLC, who responded to an Aug. 20 CNYBJ inquiry about the project. 

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced the joint venture as the developer during a July 21 event inside the ShoppingTown property at 3649 Erie Blvd East in DeWitt.

Ryan Benz, a partner in OHB Redev LLC, on July 21 addresses reporters as he stands next to a rendering of the development project at ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt. ERIC REINHARDT / CNYBJ

The project — dubbed District East — focuses on turning the property into five “distinct, but blended districts” that include residential housing, entertainment, restaurants/hospitality, retail, and office space. 

The housing component includes a goal of creating housing structures for different income brackets. That would include units available for those that would be eligible for workforce housing and those earning between 60 and 120 percent of the area median income and senior living. Condominiums would also be part of the plan. 

The developer estimates the project will create about 400 constructions jobs over the course of the redevelopment process and projects another 1,400 full-time, permanent jobs once the site is fully redeveloped.

“We’re really excited,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said in his remarks inside the once-bustling facility. “The investment that will be made … the development corporation will make an $8 million purchase price to the county of Onondaga. That will pay us back for what we have certainly invested in getting the property from [property owner] Moonbeam Capital [Investments LLC] and then that will pay us back some of the back taxes that we’ve been owed.” 

McMahon in November 2020 had announced that the county reached an agreement with Moonbeam on a plan to redevelop the property.

Under the agreement announced in November, the parties involved would pay Moonbeam $3.5 million, Moonbeam would transfer the ShoppingTown Mall property, the nearby Scotch ‘N Sirloin property, along with the KeyBank location. The Town of DeWitt and the Jamesville-DeWitt School District will contribute “roughly about one third” of that $3.5 million payment, according to the county executive.

An entrance to ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt as seen on July 21. ERIC REINHARDT / CNYBJ

Onondaga County and Moonbeam would split the revenue from the sale, based off the sales price on a sliding scale, per McMahon.

The Syracuse group involved in the redevelopment say it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

“It was really important to all of my partners and I to present a local opportunity to come in and redevelop our community,” Ryan Benz, a partner in OHB Redev LLC, said in his remarks inside ShoppingTown Mall. “I remember making the first phone calls to say hey guys, what do you think about this, and everybody immediately kind of signed up and said, yes, let’s do this. Let’s be part of something that builds a greater version of Central New York together.”

The group foresees five to six phases of construction involved in the project, Benz noted. 

“We envision a significant alteration to the existing premises, and I would estimate [demolition] in terms of 50 percent of greater of the existing structure,” Benz said. “We’re looking to really take the roof off and create a beautiful outdoor, amenity rich space complemented with at least four residential towers.”

The development team is encouraging feedback from the community and will solicit suggestions and opinions from local residents and businesses through a portal on the project website. The community can continue to follow the progress on this redevelopment by visiting districteastsyr.com.   

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