Pyramid Mall patrons will have more merchandise to peruse next holiday season when mall planners expect to complete a 150,000-square-foot retail floor expansion.
The Lansing planning board agreed to proceed with the expansion, bringing the mall’s total size to 750,000 square feet.
According to Jim Tull, the general manager at Pyramid Mall, builders will break ground on the expansion site in late March. He said that the expansion will include several different changes to the mall’s face and interior, including new stores and improved parking.
“We hope to revamp the parking area so that parking will be more spread out across the mall,” Tull said.
Along with parking adjustments, Pyramid Mall will add several new store sites. Tull commented that the mall is currently seeking to add viable, successful stores to its roster. He labeled the stores the mall wishes to acquire as “category killers” due to their mass appeal.
“These are the type of stores I think a lot of people will be willing to embrace,” he said.
While mall management confirmed the addition of Home Depot, it does not yet know which other stores will move into the new space.
For the stores now inhabiting the mall, many have just begun to prepare for the expansion and a possible influx of customers.
“We’re [store managers] looking at the plans right now,” said a Sears employee, after hearing of the expansion. Because of store policy, the employee would only speak on condition of anonymity.
Fellow anchor stores Ames and The Bon-Ton had no comment on the expansion, while JC Penney has begun preparation for their store’s impending closing.
In the mall, some storefronts are currently empty but the addition of new stores is expected to create much needed jobs, Tull said.
“Through the total expansion, maybe 350 jobs [will be created],” he said, adding that the ballpark figure does not include the added part-time and construction jobs the expansion will also bring.
Despite these benefits, mall management had to appease many different advising committees to gain approval to break ground.
On Dec. 28, 1999, the Village Engineer, the Green Space Advisory Committee, the Lighting Commission and Public Works agreed that the expansion would not be detrimental to the north Triphammer area, allowing the Lansing planning board to approve the construction.
Approval included stipulations that the mall’s parking could not exceed 3,500 spaces, and lighting plans also had to be approved by the board.
“[The expansion] brings us up to the mid-range but well below the size of a Carousel,” Tull said, comparing Pyramid’s size to fellow Pyramid company mall, the Carousel Center in Syracuse, which has 1.5 million square feet of retail space.
Many Cornell students look forward to the expansion, although some question its relevance to their shopping habits.
“I think the people in the community will definitely think about going to Pyramid Mall maybe over the Commons or Collegetown just for what they will provide,” said Robert Lee ’03.
“The Home Depot there would probably be cheaper than a small business and more convenient,” said Alex Jack ’03. “I think more Cornellians in general would go [to Pyramid], but it wouldn’t have a huge effect on campus.”
Archived article by Carlos Perkins