How incoming tenants at Great Northern Mall could fit into big transformation plans

Clay, N.Y. – Three tenants are lining up to move into the former Sears building at Great Northern Mall. Sky Zone Trampoline Park, CNY Gym Centre and VET4U, a pharmaceutical mail-order company, have plans to rent the empty space, James Ranalli III, president of Ranalli Generations LLC, told | The Post-Standard. Those businesses could fit seamlessly into another developer’s plans to turn Great Northern Mall into a residential, business and retail hub, Ranalli said.

Guy Hart Jr. is a local developer with plans to turn the former mall into a “town center,” a place where people can work, play, shop and live all within a walkable area. He envisions a community of medical offices, entertainment offerings and hundreds of homes. Hart says he wants to work with Ranalli, who bought the old Sears building last year. Ranalli agrees.

“Our plan won’t hurt anything Hart is doing, and we want to work with him in any way we can,” Ranalli said. “We are 100 percent in favor of doing anything we can to get that property back on the map, and looking pristine again.”

Ranalli said he sees Sky Zone and the gymnastics center as some of the entertainment components of Hart’s overall plan. The pharmaceutical distributor will benefit residents and medical offices in the area, Ranalli said.

The Sears building, vacant since it closed in 2018, was purchased by Ranalli Generations LLC in April 2022. Ranalli Generations LLC, a company formed by the same family that owns United Auto Supply, bought the 147,000-square-foot former anchor store for $2.25 million, according to Onondaga County property records. The Sears building is owned separately from Great Northern Mall. Hart and his company, Hart Lyman Cos., are poised to close and take possession of the former mall soon, Hart said.

Hart plans to transform the former mall and its 120-plus acres into a “town center,” one of several that Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says are key to attracting and housing thousands of workers expected to come to Onondaga County’s northern suburbs with the expected arrival of Micron Technology.

If successful, it would be a unique makeover of a Central New York mall. It would include apartments, townhomes, offices, national retailers and maybe a national grocery store and movie theatre. Ranalli is asking the town of Clay for a special permit to allow the pharmaceutical mail-order business, as it is an e-commerce use. A public hearing on the request will be held Aug. 21.

VET4U has an office in East Syracuse. CNY Gym Centre was formerly located at the now-closed Great Northern Mall, and also has a location in DeWitt. VET4U, which delivers prescriptions to individual customers, doctors’ offices and more, would fill 70,000 square feet of the former store, said James Ranalli III, president of Ranalli Generations LLC. It would employ about 30 to 50 skilled workers, Ranalli said.

Sky Zone would fill 40,000 square feet and CNY Gymnastics, which was formerly located in Great Northern Mall, will fill the remaining space. Ranalli said CNY Gymnastics is expected to open in the new location in September, while the two other tenants won’t open until early 2024. Dunk & Bright also opened a large furniture store in the former Macy’s location at Great Northern in April 2022.

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