Jack Thomas' Commentary

Posted May 29, 2008

The Galleria at Crystal Run opened in 1992 at the convergence of Interstate 84 and New York Route 17 in Middletown, NY. Built by The Pyramid Company of Syracuse, NY the mall featured at the time of it's opening G. Fox, JCPenney, Nobody Beats the Wiz, Steinbach, HomeImage by Lechmere, and Sears as well as a Loews Cinema complex.

The mall almost immediately killed off its older counterpart, the Orange Plaza across Route 17, drawing both JCPenney and Sears away from that mall. But soon, anchor changes plagued this new mall as well. G. Fox became Filene's, Nobody Beats the Wiz closed in 1997 and was replaced by F.Y.E., Steinbach became Dick's Sporting Goods, and HomeImage by Lechmere folded in 1997 with the rest of the Lechmere chain. That space was vacant until H&M moved in around 2000.

An expansion plan was in the works around 1998, to double the size of the mall and expand it out to the north through JCPenney. That, like many other Pyramid expansion plans of the time, never came to fruition. The only expansion to ever take place at the galleria was the addition of Target in 2001(which carved out a large peice of the H&M/Lechmere space) and an outparcel Best Buy and Linens and Things.

More recently, the mall has become somewhat bland with its store selection. It still has some national chain stores, but most have closed in the past two years. Some actually have moved across Route 17 to the revived Orange Plaza, which has turned itself around as a big box strip mall. The mall has also been repainted in earthtone colors like green and brown, colors that really don't do justice for the mall. More recent changes incude the addition of a Borders bookstore, Macy's taking over Filene's, and the rebranding of the theater from Loews to AMC.

All in all, I feel that this mall is not doing enough to bring in the national chains that could be a great niche to the area. The mall is very close to the New York City market and could easily draw the attention of upscale department stores and smaller shops. Perhaps Pyramid doesn't want to steal the spotlight from their crown jewel Palisades Center in Rockland County, but whatever the case may be, this mall will be in trouble in the next few years if they do not turn things around now.

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