Crossgates Mall hoping to expand entertainment options

Crossgates Mall officials are seeking additional entertainment options to fill vacant space in the s

Crossgates Mall officials are seeking additional entertainment options to fill vacant space in the shopping center.

Shoppers could see the likes of a bowling alley, day spa or comedy club at the mall in the near future.

“We think it’s important to bring in entertainment so people stay longer and shop longer,” said mall General Manager Joe Castaldo. “We are trying to enhance people’s shopping experience at Crossgates.”

Castaldo said the mall, owned by Pyramid Cos. in Syracuse, has several spaces available and is considering a handful of leasing options. In addition to a bowling alley, day spa, or comedy club, other ideas have been discussed, such as an arcade-themed restaurant.

According to Castaldo, the placement of entertainment-based venues in malls has been a big draw for shopping centers in other areas.

Palisades Center in West Nyack, another Pyramid-owned mall, houses both a Lucky Strikes Bowling Alley and a Dave and Busters Restaurant. Castaldo said both attractions do “very well” in a mall setting.

The majority of the space available is within an old 12-screen movie theater on the upper floor of the 1.6 million-square-foot mall. The space has gone unused since the new Regal Cinemas opened on the complex’s first floor several years ago. Castaldo said other spaces could become available “for the right tenant,” adding that he was talking about existing space, not an addition to the shopping center.

Crossgates underwent a major expansion in the mid-1990s, but a plan a few years later to expand it into one of the largest malls in the nation drew local opposition and was dropped.

Castaldo would not comment on if any deals had been reached, or give a timeline for the project.

“I can only say we are actively pursuing options,” he said.

The space where Macy’s used to be, a 150,000-square-foot anchor slot, is also still available. However, Castaldo said mall officials are looking for another department store to fill the spot, such as a Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom.

“That’s our goal for the space, but we would open it up to other tenants if we ran out of space options,” he said.

Mall patrons Wednesday had mixed opinions on the possibility of a new type of tenant.

University at Albany juniors Maria Melon and Jesie Lindor said they would love the mall to have more things to do.

Melon said a bowling alley or comedy club would be more convenient for college students if they were already inside the mall.

“I’m for something new going in,” said 20-year-old Melon. “The mall needs a change.”

However, Karen Smallin did not support the idea.

The Oneonta resident drives more than an hour to shop at Crossgates, and said she would be less likely to frequent this particular shopping center because she wouldn’t want to deal with the crowd. She also said a bowling alley or arcade-themed restaurant could attract the wrong crowd.

“The mall already has a problem with teens being here late at night,” she said. Noting that a bowling alley, comedy club or arcade-theme restaurant would likely contain a bar, Smallin added, “[It] would entice young adults to drink at the mall and the problem would just get worse.”

Categories: Business

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