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Final contract in place to begin redevelopment of former ShoppingTown Mall site

This is a rendering of what the new District East project might look like on the site of the former ShoppingTown Mall.
Onondaga County
This is a rendering of what the new District East project might look like on the site of the former ShoppingTown Mall.

A final contract is in place for the redevelopment of the former Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt.  The agreement has been nearly a year in the making after the county selected a team of local developers to work on a mixed-used plan for the sprawling property.

Most of the mall will be demolished to make way for the project. The developed site will be called District East, and is expected to include a large mixed residential component, modern movie theater, premium grocery store, specialty retail, as well as medical offices.

The roughly $300 million project will also include new sidewalks, bike paths, walking trails, and a large park and green space. County Executive Ryan McMahon says in a release that the county is fulfilling a promise to protect taxpayers no matter who redevelops the site.

The contract with OHB Redev calls for the county to be paid $8 million for the site, and includes a study and closing period. That will allow for transparency and public comment as the project moves through the county’s industrial development agency and the Town of DeWitt.

OHB Redev’s Ryan Benz says in the release that they're anxious to get to work.

Throughout the past ten months we have engaged some of the most capable and creative designers and consultants to help us craft the vision for this unique project. Our plans call for the wholesale demolition of the majority of the existing mall, to make way for a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly community."

McMahon's office says the project will support approximately 950 construction jobs. Once complete, District East is expected to enable nearly 1,500 on-site jobs and will drive approximately $12 million in sales tax revenue for the County and State.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at