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First phase of Destiny USA nears completion

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: First phase of Destiny USA nears completion
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Could we be closer to the doors finally opening on the massive expansion of Carousel Center, the first phase of the Destiny USA project? YNN's Bill Carey says there are new signs that the end of the construction project is near.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- They are the finishing touches on a project that has stretched across years. A project delayed by financial and legal setbacks. Still, there is a sense of optimism now that the area may finally see this first phase of the Destiny USA project in operation.

"A spring opening with a great multitude of tenants that complement Carousel Center. This will be the sixth largest shopping destination in the country," said Destiny USA Spokesman David Aitken.

There are still pressures on the project. The City of Syracuse, which has provided tax breaks for Destiny, claimed a deadline for completion of the work would arrive last June. After tense negotiations, an extension was granted until December, in return for a million dollars paid by the developer to the city.

One of the key requirements by the city is that this mall expansion receive a temporary certificate of occupancy to show the work on it is completed. And work has progressed here to the point where they're within just days of receiving that certificate.

Aitken said, "We're getting very close to being able to turn it over to tenants. In fact, there's some tenant spaces that are being built out now."

The other major requirement by the city is that work must begin on a next phase of Destiny. Have there been new talks and could another extension be in the works? The city isn't saying.

"I'm not going to negotiate or talk about what's been talked about in public. It's not appropriate. When there is information and when the deadline comes about, we'll talk about it then. But not right now. It's premature," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

At Destiny, they're also not talking about the new deadline or any new talks. But say they're hopeful no more standoffs are in the works.

"Our interests are aligned. We understand the city wants economic development. We understand that they want jobs. They want the sales tax. We respect that and that's what we're working for," Aitken said.

Work that finally seems to be nearing an end.

Destiny USA used social media, Facebook and Twitter, to announce its latest tenant signing, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill. The country singer's chain of restaurant and taverns features live entertainment. It will occupy 20,000 square feet on the expansion's third level.

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