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What’s next for Great Northern Mall in Clay?

Great Northern has gone through a tough stretch over the last several years, but the shopping attraction along State Route 31 still stands.

The mall is open, but a leaky roof, potholes around the building, and dim lighting in the parking lot are creating concerns for tenants and shoppers alike.

Mike Kohan, who owns the mall, owes Onondaga County about $4.3 million. That’s for back taxes.

According to CNYCentral, a letter recently went to tenants, reminding them that the shopping mall could go up for auction in the fall. County Executive Ryan McMahon tells CNYCentral that this outcome is unlikely- but the process needed to be followed while they work out a solution.

In February 2020, a deal was reached for owners of Great Northern to pay $100,000 per month to pay off the back taxes. They would’ve been paid off by April 2024.

Now, owners of the mall are accused of not honoring the deal.

“Time is ticking with this company. And this owner, but certainly we’ve proven with ShoppingTown mall we’re willing to come in and control ownership to make sure that the property development of a large community asset like that happens,” McMahon told CNYCentral.

Three factors spell out against Great Northern, leaving major questions about where it goes next:

1 – The County says it has no interest in taking revitalizing it. This is how Shoppingtown Mall was handled in 2020.

2 – Shoppers don’t have an appetite for malls anymore. Even Destiny USA, Syracuse’s largest mall, faces serious questions about how it will remain relevant over the next 5 years.

3 – Absentee ownership is a major problem in many of these cases involving declining properties and back taxes.

For now, tenants and the community wait to see what’s next.