UPDATE: Broker Michael DeRosa notified The Citizen early Tuesday that he has heard back from the firm selling Fingerlakes Mall, Eastern Consolidated. The firm told DeRosa that the bid he submitted on behalf of his client, Adam Weitsman, is still being negotiated. This story has been updated accordingly.
As the sale of Fingerlakes Mall continues to be negotiated, a prominent local businessman who submitted a bid for the property has shared his plans for it with The Citizen.
Adam Weitsman, owner of The Krebs restaurant in Skaneateles and Owego recycling business Upstate Shredding, said he submitted a "competitive offer" for the mall July 12.
A representative of the brokerage firm selling the mall, Eastern Consolidated, said Monday that it is still in negotiations. The firm did not respond to Weitsman's broker, Michael DeRosa, until Monday evening, telling him that it would have a decision soon, DeRosa said.
Weitsman told The Citizen about his bid for Fingerlakes Mall shortly after the end of an online auction for the property on commercial real estate Ten-X July 26. The mall went for $4.1 million after a flurry of last-minute bids, but a representative of Eastern Consolidated said later that afternoon that bidding was still underway and the auction page was "beyond inaccurate."
Weitsman and DeRosa said they're unsure of the price Eastern Consolidated and the mall's owner, Siba Corporation, are seeking for it.
"I don't know if the seller used the auction to get Bass Pro to buy it or what," DeRosa said.
If his bid for the mall is chosen, Weitsman said, he stands ready with ideas to re-energize the Aurelius shopping center. His main goals would be to bring in an anchor tenant to join Bass Pro Shops and J.C. Penney, as well as to emphasize dining and entertainment to the same degree Destiny USA does in Syracuse.
"You need to draw people there, and you're not going to draw people there with just retail. You want to make it a destination," Weitsman said.
Weitsman also estimated he would make $6 million in capital improvements to the 1980 mall: half to the outside and half to the "very dated decor" on the inside.
Being from upstate, Weitsman believes he would be positioned to manage the mall better than current owner Siba, a New York City diamond wholesaler that bought it for $27 million in 2006. Though Siba is not at fault for consumers migrating away from malls and toward the online marketplace, Weitsman continued, a local owner would stand a better chance of bringing them back.
"Being in New York City, you're out of touch with the trends of the market. Upstate is definitely different than New York City," he said. "With the landscape of retail changing so much in the upstate market, we would be strongly suited to fill the mall up faster than an out-of-town developer."