Time is ticking away this month for the current owners of Shoppingtown Mall to pay up on back taxes as Onondaga County prepares to potentially seize the property. The County has several choices on how to move forward with property, but the town of Dewitt is hoping that it doesn’t get auctioned off to private owners.
Director of Planning and Zoning Sam Gordon hopes that the county turns the property over to the town.
"If we can get it in some sort of public ownership, whether that's through the county or the town, then we can get some more control over the disposition of the property."
Gordon adds that Shoppingtown Mall is situated in a very desirable location, easily accessible to highways, near residents who have high buying power. He thinks the property could be developed into a lifestyle mixed use space.
"These new lifestyle centers are walkable downtown center that have a combintation of retail, housing, maybe office and entertainment as well. That's really the vision that we have for this property. We think the right investment could be transformative for DeWitt, which is a traditional suburban community that doesn’t really have a downtown.”
If the mall goes to a private owner, Gordon hopes that property is redeveloped into a place that can compete and can prosper despite the shift to online retailing. He says the future of the property is in the hands of whoever owns it.
"What we'd like to see is an owner that takes an active interest in the property and begins reinvesting in it."
Unless Shoppingtown’s current owners, Moonbeam Capital, enter into some kind of payment agreement for back taxes, it will be auctioned off at the County Property Tax Auction on October 22nd.