Destiny USA isn’t only the name of the project that’s on track to become the largest LEED Gold-certified retail building in the country and the first to boast only LEED Gold-certified tenants , it might also be a metaphor for the evolution of the American shopping mall.

Or so Pyramid Cos. developer Robert J. Congel hopes. When Destiny USA opens in Syracuse, N.Y. in spring 2012, it will replace the 21-year-old Carousel Center mall and the former adjoining “Oil City,” a 120-acre oil tank wasteland and scrap yard and longtime local eyesore, which Congel remediated in partnership with the City of Syracuse.

Congel, a Syracuse native and founder of Pyramid Cos., which owns 17 malls in the Syracuse area, including Carousel Center, has undertaken Destiny USA as his company’s premier green project following a personal interest in green building that began with a conference held in his home in 2002, says Destiny USA executive Sara Wallace.

According to David Aitken, Destiny USA executive in charge of development, Congel initiated the project because having grown up near Oil City “makes him very passionate about developing an environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient project” and one that promotes regional economic development.

Green components

Upon completion, the 2.4-million-sq.-ft. Destiny USA will encompass a newly retrofitted 850,000-sq.-ft. Carousel Center plus a 1.55-million-sq.-ft. expansion with LEED Gold-certified exterior and interior constructed using 23,000 tons of 95 percent recycled steel and 270,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel.

The new building’s biggest green components are a “cool” roof using refracting technology and a rainwater harvesting system that will conserve 4 million gallons of water annually. The expansion will also feature all-LED lighting, low-flush toilets, non-VOC paint, 71 percent-recycled timber flooring in the gateways and Eco Naturals Eco Shell with Cork flooring in the main walkways.

Aitken says that green elements are already being incorporated as much as possible into the original Carousel Center. “It’s a green retrofit,” adds Wallace, “and we’re striving for LEED certification there too.”

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