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Another shopping mall in the region is struggling: Great Northern Mall in Clay has bleak future

A once proud mall in the region is struggling to survive. After years of headlines about Shoppingtown Mall declining – Great Northern Mall in Clay is en route to a similar fate.

But Onondaga County doesn’t want to be left on the hook for the price tag. Great Northern was opened in the late-1980s. It’s a 1 million square foot mall on Route 21. At the moment it has around a dozen stores, and not much activity in any of the mall’s common areas – like food court.

County Executive Ryan McMahon says Onondaga needs the mall to thrive. “We hold the towns harmless, and the school district harmless, so we are paying the town and the school district what they would have received in taxes here, but we are not receiving what we are owed and we’re fronting money,” he told CNYCentral.

It’s a tough situation, and even though property owners recently made a $600,000 payment – it’s not enough.


“We’re not going to be used as really another victim in this process where they are taking in rent but not paying out on the other side,” added McMahon to CNYCentral. But there are only about a dozen open stores.

It means there’s only so much rent coming through the doors. And shopping malls in general are in decline. It’s not a pandemic issue, or Syracuse-area issue.

It’s an everywhere issue.

Shoppingtown Mall is another example in the Syracuse-area. Marketplace Mall in Henrietta, a suburb of Rochester is another example. In many ways, because of a rise in crime and violence, even Destiny USA is in decline. The Fingerlakes Mall outside of Auburn is also in tough shape, with very few non-local, traditional mall tenants.

Shopping malls are not the family-centric places they once were. That’s not because of any one factor, but a reality of how the business has changed.



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