Onondaga County could take over a dying shopping mall in central New York, if its owners don’t pay back taxes by an October deadline.
The county has placed ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt on a list of tax delinquent properties that will be auctioned off October 22. Moonbeam Capital Investments has owned the nearly-empty mall in the center of DeWitt since 2013, and now owes close to $8 million in back taxes.
Onondaga County lawmakers this week agreed that if Moonbeam doesn’t pay a quarter of those taxes by the auction deadline, the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency will take over the property and find a developer.
Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon said putting the IDA in charge makes sense.
"The IDA will be able to control the owner and make sure we get a good community partner, and we don’t go through an episode of groundhog day all over again with our current situation,” McMahon said.
If the IDA takes control, McMahon said it will work with the Town of DeWitt on finding a developer that fits with the town's vision for the 53-acre property. Onondaga County has an interest in this, because it has had to cover the almost $8 million in back taxes that have not been paid to the town and school district over the last several years.
ShoppingTown opened in 1954, one of Syracuse’s first suburban shopping centers. It has been losing tenants for the last decade. Sears, the mall's last major tenant, shut its doors last month.