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The Upstate Economy

Shoppingtown Mall struggles, but no major plans for changes

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)
The inside of Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt.

The Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt was once a major holiday shopping destination. But in recent years, more and more stores have moved out, leaving a shell of a building. And it doesn’t look like things will be changing soon.

Sears is the only anchor store left at what once was a thriving mall. Now, it opens up to a cavernous pathway lined with local organizations -- like karate clubs -- generally caged up much of the day.

DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko says Moonbeam Capital Investments, which bought the property three years ago, continues having trouble finding retail tenants that want to operate out of a mall setting.

“None of the retail stores want to pay rent for a place that covers common space, heat and lights. There’s a number of things we’ve offered to property owners to help relieve them of that pressure, but if you’ve noticed, all the shopping centers have turned into strip malls,” said Michalenko.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News
The JCPenney at Shoppingtown mall is closed.

It’s been a bad year for Shoppingtown. JCPenney, an anchor at the mall since it opened in 1954, closed and several other small retailers and food vendors also called it quits. And the DeWitt Library, which has been a longtime tenant, will move to a new location in 2017. While there has been talk of creating a call center at the mall, Michalenko says there are no plans on the table right now. His vision for the long term would be two or three key stores that would attract smaller retailers as part of a more a mixed-use component. One thing he doesn’t expect though, is that the town of DeWitt mainstay will become victim to the wrecking ball.

"It’s a valuable piece of property and a great location,” said Michalenko.