Destiny USA’s expanded shopping mall celebrates the first anniversary today of officially changing its name from the “Carousel Center.” Since the transformation, General Manager Rob Schoeneck believes it’s led to an increase in business that has helped the greater community.
"We’ve seen visits increase tremendously; we’ve seen tour bus visits go up dramatically in the last six months. We’re seeing a lot of different things, a lot of exciting, new things. Going back until January of 2012, probably 80-plus new businesses and stores have opened up here at Destiny USA."
While the mall is larger, it’s not generating the tens of the thousands of jobs it originally promised. Current estimates are more than five thousand full-time employees at the mall.
However, Manager Rob Schoeneck says that as new restaurants and stores open for business, they emerge on a hiring spree.
"You know, if we have 20 or 30 spaces to fill that are still vacant, we could easily get closer to 7,000 jobs I think, here. And then with some of the initiatives we’re looking at, I think that’s definitely within reach."
While shoppers can still see empty store shells in the expanded portion of the mall, Shoeneck believes that a more developed inner harbor area could drive still more employment opportunities in the area. He hints that another expansion could be on the horizon:
"We do own a lot of land. We’ve seen what we’ve created here already, and we think there’s opportunity to make it better."
Officials say Destiny’s boom in customers is closely linked with the Syracuse tourism industry. Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau President David Holder also connects Destiny’s statistics with the local hotel business.
"Syracuse hotel performance occupancy and average daily rate averages between one to three percent growth. This year, our average growth has been 7 percent. On months where Destiny USA or the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau has been out with marketing and advertising, that figure is as high as 11%, and it’s not trickled any lower than 11 percent for those months."
Pyramid Company officials broke ground years ago on a hotel that never happened. However, with the recent addition this week of a Marriott Hotel in Armory Square, mall visitors from outside the city limits will have another nearby option.
Anniversary events are scheduled through Monday, August 5:
- "Taste of Destiny" - discounts and happy hour specials from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday
- Free carousel rides all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
- Baby Expo, 1 to 4 p.m. in the Canyon, with free play area for children
- Monday, August 5th - Canadian Civic Day, offering souvenir bags and discounts to shoppers from Canada