Kanangle's Blog

The first thing that attracted me to the Destiny USA topic was the fact that this project takes place in Syracuse, NY; a city very close to my hometown of Skaneateles, NY. As Carousel mall is where I shop and the mall Destiny is taking over I found this public space to be the most interesting to me. I began to notice that the rapid progress of Destiny USA began to slowly come to a stop in early June. As I began my research on Destiny USA I found out why the malls renovation has been put to a halt. I came to find out that Bob Congel, the owner/creator of Destiny had over twenty-nine million dollars in unpaid bills to Citibank, the bank in charge of loaning Congel the money to create this incredible building. I also found out that construction workers had been working for the past couple months without seeing a penny. Therefore, my initial question was why did Destiny USA, potentially the biggest mall in America, a change to Syracuse that would enhance the city as well as benefit the community, consist of one standing unfinished building and paved parking lots?

Now, that I have my answer to that question, another question is still lingering on my mind, is Destiny USA, aside from it being the first fully clean-energy public space, will really end up benefiting the community of Syracuse? Or will all of the controversy Congel has with the bank as well as the workers put a bad reputation on the project and back-fire creating drama for the whole community? I plan to discuss this in my paper and I am learning new information about my topic with each new article I read.

            Before I did any in-depth research on Destiny USA I just knew that Bob Congel, a resident of Skaneateles, was the creator of the plans and that it was going to be the biggest and most environmentally friendly mall in America. I came to find out that not only is Destiny USA planning to be environmentally friendly, but also Congel has planned to use only a barrel of oil to create this 800-acre shopping center (Little). Destiny USA has the intention of enhancing the economy, and reinforces national security by encouraging energy efficient buildings (Little).

On the other hand, I also learned more about why Destiny stopped. An article a research, written by Rick Moriarty, read that after Congel had failed to pay nearly thirty million dollars in bills, he rejected to give fifteen million dollars of his own money in order to take care of the cost of overruns. I then learned that Congel sued Citibank, for he claimed he never received the full one hundred and sixty four million dollars from the initial loan deal. This is what created the lawsuit as well as further the drama between the bank and Destiny USA group. Moriarty stated, “…if it (Destiny USA Holdings LLC) cannot finish the project, Destiny’s principals will lose their own $40 million investment in the construction, plus more than $400 million invested in the project prior to construction beginning, the company said in its lawsuit” (Moriarty). It was this information that leads me to question if Destiny USA will hurt the community of Syracuse or benefit it in the long run.

I would like to know more about what is going on with the lawsuit between Destiny USA Holdings LLC and Citibank and the likelihood that Destiny USA will be completed. I would like to see if I can find reporter’s opinions on whether they think Congel can pull-off one of the greatest projects in America today without running out of money. I also am interested in learning more about the plans Congel has created for this renovation to Carousel other than it being environmentally friendly. For instance, I’d like to know what stores, restaurants as well as other attractions such as amusement parks, hotels that will attract more people to visit Syracuse, NY. I think that finding out more information on both sides of Destiny USA will help me answer the question as to whether the community of Syracuse will rejoice or be forever burden with an unfinished shopping mall.

            As I am spending more time on my topic I have come to find out that most sources discuss the specifics of Destiny USA such as the environmental issues, the lawsuit, and the unfinished building consuming one of the main attractions in Syracuse. I have come across little information as to how this is affecting the surrounding people and community and I think that this is an important issue that should not be over-looked. Without a doubt I am finding my own opinion and beliefs on the topic and as I research more I find myself becoming almost completely one-sided on the topic. Although I intend on remaining neutral and showing both sides of the topic, I believe that making points throughout my paper will help me fill gaps that have been created through the two viewpoints I have encountered on Destiny USA.

            I have asked myself a number of questions as I read a multitude of articles regarding Destiny USA and the future it holds for Syracuse both good and bad. I often ask myself, does the fact that this could be the first ever clean energy building that could potentially open the publics eye to becoming more environmentally friendly outweigh the fact that construction workers are rapidly working without seeing a pay check? Is it fair that although Congel clearly is going to need help creating this dream public space but workers need to pay their own bills and take care of their own families too? At this point in my topic, I believe that Congel, one of the most well-known real estate developers in New York may have never taken on such a big piece of property before, but has the power as well as the money to make Destiny USA work. With the size of this project and all of the factors that are being put into this development there are bound to be problems along the way. I truly believe that if the Congel begins to pay the bills on time, as well as stays true to his employees that Destiny USA will change the future for not only the community of Syracuse but for America. I believe that I can support my argument with sources I found giving information on what is going to be placed in Destiny USA as well as stating the specifics on how well this building is being built and how it can enhance and attract more people to Syracuse, which right now is a weak city compared to surrounding cities such as Rochester and Albany.

 

 

When everything is put aside, will Destiny USA give the city of Syracuse a new life, or, will the controversy between this project override Congel’s plan and keep Syracuse as a struggling city with nothing but unfinished business?

B)

Little, Amanda. “Mega-mall in upstate New York could give birth to a clean-energy awakening.” Grist.beta A Beacon In The Smog. July 2009. Grist Magazine. 25 Jul 2009

 

This article is about how Robert Congel, a real-estate developer is attempting to build the first ever 100 percent clean energy mall, as well as having it be the biggest mall in America. Destiny USA is what I intend to write my paper on and this article shows the environmental purpose of the project.

 

“Congel’s plans to construct a zero-energy retail mecca — a powerful symbol that profits and cheap fossil fuels aren’t inextricably entwined. Who else in this country is willing to commit the staggering sum of an estimated $20 billion to such a vision? Who else is willing to grandstand for renewable with a project as eccentric as a zero-energy mega-mall? At a time when Republican leaders are pushing a myopic, five-year-old energy bill with massive handouts to Big Oil and King Coal, Americans should applaud the optimism and sheer audacity of Congel’s dream.”

 

This quote clearly shows which side Little is on in her article. Although Destiny USA has been getting heat about not paying the construction workers on time, as well as not paying the bank of time. Little believes that if Destiny USA were competed the pros would outweigh the cons tremendously. She thinks that people who are worried about the fossil-fuels and pollution used to get to the mall is silly and that Congel should be applauded for he is the first ever to try and create a fully green environment.

 

Moriarty, Rick. “Citigroup says Congel shut off Destiny cash when he wouldn’t put up $15 million.” Syracuse.com. July 2009. Syracuse News. 25 Jul 2009

This article shows the other side of Destiny USA, or the problems that this project has created. Rick Moriarty touches on the largest problem, money. He shows how Congel could have avoided all of the controversy as well as how the bank/workers are fed up with his dream mall.

 

“More than a dozen contractors walked off the site in early June, taking more than 300 construction workers with them because they had not been paid in over two months. The lack of payments — a total of $29 million in unpaid bills — was the result of Citigroup cutting off its lending to the project in May. The bank said Congel had refused to put up $15 million more of his own money to cover cost overruns.”

This quote, stated by Moriarty, says in a nutshell why there are negative vibes and comments made about Bob Congel and why Destiny USA has been paused. Of course to create such a large project, there are going to be problems. Congel is a very powerful man and for the bank to cut him off on his way of making history, he is going to fight back. He is in the process of suing Citibank and this is not only withholding the project longer, but also creating drama and controversy about the members of the Syracuse community. Congel clearly has some explaining to do and the workers should be treated with the utmost respect for they are the key to making his dream come true.

 

 

C)

Without question, Bob Congel, a well-known real- estate developer in Upstate New York, is on his way to making history. He is planning on building the first ever clean energy mall; but not just any mall, along with making it a 100 percent clean energy mega mall (Little) it will also be the biggest mall in America. As Amanda Little, a columist on environmental issues for Gist magazine states, “who else in this country is willing to commit the staggering sum of an estimated $20 billion to such a vision” (Little)? To answer Little’s question, probably no one, but that doesn’t mean building the “unthinkable” doesn’t come without a price, literally. Rick Moriarty snaps the Syracuse community back into reality with his article discussing how Citibank, the bank responsible for lending Congel money for his project, cut off Congel in late June due to Congel’s lack of payment for bills totaling nearly 15 million dollars. Not only does this ruin Congel’s reputation as having the power to do nearly anything he dreamt of, but also to the community of Syracuse. As Moriarty states  “ the community would also be irreparably harmed, suffering “catastrophic consequences,” including the loss of thousands of desperately needed jobs” in Central New York and tens of millions of dollars in tax receipts” (Moriarty). Although Destiny USA would be beneficial to the environment as well as the city of Syracuse, the loose ends need to be tied up quickly before this project becomes “Disaster USA”.

A) 

Sibley’s article clearly showed how a writer could use a source in a multitude of ways. After re-reading his article it really became clear as to how well Sibley focuses on a topic and discusses it himself, and his view on the topic, then uses a source in order to support his argument and a majority of the time deepen the argument in order to get the reader to agree. Too many times have I written articles and use a quote from a source and just agree with it thinking that is a way of putting my own thoughts into my paper. I have learned from Sibley that it makes a paper strong if you were to come up with an original argument and find a quote or sentence from your source in order to clarify or support what you previously stated.

Another thing that became very noticeable to me after reading Sibley’s work more carefully is how although he makes his own arguments in his paper, he always uses sources that agree or disagree with his argument. I learned in my previous writing classes that it is important to stay neutral when writing a paper for if you were to clearly state what side your on then you audience is more likely to not be impressed with your work if they do not agree with you. Sibley’s work is so strong and moving because he compares and contrasts the ideas of all of his sources and therefore makes the reader think about the topic at hand.

The topic of my paper is Destiny USA, the huge multi-million dollar project that is currently taking place at Carousel mall in Syracuse, NY. The creator of Destiny USA is Robert Congel, one of the world’s greatest real-estate developer and also a neighbor of mine here in Skaneateles, NY.

Two web-based articles that discuss the Destiny USA project on completely different outlooks include “DESTINY’S CHILD Mega-mall in upstate New York could give birth to a clean-energy awakening” by Amanda Little and “Citigroup says Congel shut off Destiny cash when he wouldn’t put up $15 million” by Rick Moriarty. I thought that these two articles were a great example of how heated this topic is in the city of Syracuse and how people have completely different views on if Destiny USA will hurt or help Syracuse, NY.

Starting with Little, I researched her briefly and found that she is a columnist that focuses a majority of her work on the environment and energy sources. This article in particular discusses how Congel plans to make his project not only the biggest male in America, quote “making Mall of American look like a five-and-dime…” but to make it a “green” environment (Little). Little talks about how Congel plans to make a 100 percent clean-energy mega-mall. In her opinion if this project is completed it will help the city of Syracuse become more aware of the environment and encourage energy independence. She is completely focused on all of the positives coming from this project, pointing out facts such as “Congel’s bulldozers- fully powered by biodiesel, along with the rest of his construction equipment…” (Little), and “commercial-development analysts, and renewable energy experts that the immense and unprecedented scheme can be pulled off…” (Little). I believe Little is attempting to gain the attention of the city of Syracuse as well as other “green” members in the community in order to get positive feedback on the controversial issue. The fact that Amanda Little is know to write about environmental issues I believe that the majority of people to take time to read her work will be happy with what Congel is doing to the Carousel mall. I also think that the purpose of this article was to point out the good things having an environmentally friendly enormous mall could do not only for the environment but also for the community as well as the business that will emerge from this mission, a public advocacy. I also was drawn to this article because I thought it was a good source to use in my paper to show the pros of such a massive project-taking place. All of the information Little stated was valid and reliable but above all it was controversial to what others think of Destiny USA, I like controversy for I think it intrigues the reader as well as makes for a good argument.

The other source I mentioned above talks about the complaints and arguments that have emerged from such a massive project taking place. Moriarty discusses most likely the biggest problem that has caused drama for Bob Congel as well as the community of Syracuse. Of course to make the first every environmentally friendly mega-mall comes with a price, and in this case Congel is having a tough time paying all of the bills this large of a plan demands. Citigroup, the bank Congel is borrowing money from recently has shut him off after Congel had a total of 29 million in unpaid bills. Moriarty states how “more than a dozen contractors walked off the site in early June, and more than 300 construction workers with them because they had not been paid in over two months” (Moriarty). Congel reacted and said the bank has not lent him all the money they agreed to let him borrow and it resulted in “all the dramatic alleged losses to itself (Congel) third parties and the community” (Moriarty). Unlike Little, Moriarty points out that although Congel may have a great plan in mind, there are many things that cannot be overlooked and will not be overlooked when so much attention has been brought to Destiny USA. Today, Destiny USA consists of one half built building, which leaves Syracuse with nothing but construction cones and a bad reputation. Is the community affected by the entire bad-mouthing coming from construction companies as well as Citigroup banks but Congel is on the brink of losing his own 40 million dollar investment on the construction, plus the 400 million invested into the entire project (Moriarty). I believe Moriarty’s article grabs the attention of readers who want to know why the work on Destiny USA has not been touched since June. I also think Moriarty would like to point out that maybe Congel’s dreams are bigger than reality and this huge plan should have been thought out before started. I liked this source for it shows a different side than what Little showed while still staying on the topic of Destiny USA. I also liked how Moriarty showed how the community has been affected by the lawsuit taking place between Congel and Citigroup bank. Both Little’s article and this article provide truthful information, strong arguments and current events that will help make my essay stronger.

What do I want to discover?

– Since my research topic is dealing with an issue that has caused much uproar in my town, I am hoping to discover why trucks were thought to be banned in the first place, as well as why they were so angry with the ban once it took place. I am interested in seeing both sides of the story for I know very little about the whole situation just the consequences the arose from it.

How do I plan of discovering it?

– There has been many local articles as well as federal papers written on the issue; all of which show both sides on the argument. I found from reading articles posted on our blackboard site that it is very important when researching to find out the background on the author and realize the articles are going to be biased most of the time. I think that by showing both sides of the story it will lead to an interesting paper on the topic.

 

Who am I going to talk/survery to?

I actually attended the riot that was started by all the truck drivers and their families in December, I remembering hearing certain comments and remarks and I actually personally know some people who were affected by the truck ban. I am planning on speaking to them, as well as the mayor of my town in order to get both sides and understand why the ban of trucks passing through Skaneateles went into effect.

 

Where am I going to gain access to these individuals?

– Like I mentioned before I have family friends who were directly affected by the truck ban for they own a large business that they rely on trucks to bring them their goods. Skaneateles is a fairly small town and I plan on going over to the chamber of commerce in town and speaking with someone there about getting in touch with the mayor or some member of the town of Skaneateles in order to gain information on the view they have on the truck ban.

 

What are my biases about this topic?

I am for the most part split down the middle about this topic. The ban on trucks does not affect me as it does to others around my area, and to me trucks were annoying and dangerous with how large they were going through the little village streets. At first I thought the truck ban was a good thing, before I researched more about it and saw how many people had to go out of business or be further away from their families longer just because my town wouldn’t allow them to pass through. I am still up in the air with how I feel about the situation. 

How can I make sure my biases will not be reflected in the paper?

Well I think that keeping my biases’ out of my paper will be easy for I really have no opinion on the issue. I just find it interesting because to me both sides of the issue have good points. This is one reason I picked this tipic was because I wanted to learn more about it and eventually side with one after I research both sides of the story. 

What do I expect to discover?

I hope to find a reason to why this issue was created in the first place, I hope the government had a good reason for passing the law and I would like to know more about the truck ban in Skaneateles and if it really is going to last or truckers will begin to ignore the rule and police cars will get frustrated with pulling every truck that passes through town over.

Throughout Unit 1 I have learned many different things about public spaces. For instance, I learned how secure places were places in public blocked off in order for ones protection or additional security. I learned that passage spaces are spaces designed to I also learned about transgressive signs, and although it is a definition hard to describe I found this type of sign or object in public space to be the most interesting.

            Transgressive signs, as stated by Scollen and Scollen are signs that most would deem “graffti- things transgressively written on stones or walls in public spaces against the expectation or in violation of a public expectation that such surfaces would be kept clean and ‘unpolluted’.” I am interested in writing my paper on this topic because in my opinion it was the topic that was most talked about on our group page. Transgressive signs meant different things to everyone and I liked how some people were offended by images while others were not.

            I plan on talking about a wide variety of transgressive signs across the world. I want to research how the public responded to the image and why the creator chose to express themselves through public space. As I was doing the assignment on transgressive signs, even getting slightly into the research of the topic I found that there are dramatically different views on transgressive signs and how whether or not they are a proper use of public space or not.

            Another idea I had for my paper was to discuss secure spaces. At first when finding secure places online I did not think that this type of public space was very interesting. After looking at my group’s example of secure spaces I found that I wasn’t thinking deeply enough into what secure spaces actually were and while in New York City this past weekend I saw many secure places and it was neat actually noticing what I am learning in real life.

            If I were to discuss secure spaces I would research why the barrier was placed there and what the owner or people allowed in the space were attempting to control by putting a restriction on a space.

                        Both of these ideas are what I have thought of researching and what were the most interesting to me during Unit 1. With further research on these topics as well as peer comments I hope to have a better idea of what I would like to discuss.

airport-metal-detectors-1

The first picture that I chose as an example of a secure zone in a public place was a picture of metal detectors in an airport. This zone is being secured by airport personnel that have the authority to prosecute if a passenger doesn’t follow the rules while going through airport security. As most realize, airport security has gotten dramatically stricter since September 11th. The security is trying to create an environment that is intimidating to a passenger. This is an attempt to scare off any potential terrorists. It provokes a “we mean business” attitude. I think that metal detectors and security in an airport is a very good thing. As we learned from September 11th the security needed to be tightened or people will take advantage of it. I believe that although traveling is now a process, the security at airports could be even more strict. I don’t think that metal detectors invade ones freedom at all. 

 

cerguard_0201_large

The second picture I chose is a picture of a ceremonial guard at a public statue. I chose this picture because it shows how the guard is protecting this statue and giving off an attitude to visitors that this monument may not be vandalized or touched. It shows how important of a piece this is and most likely attract more tourists than if there was no guard at the site. I believe that the government or a high power created this statue seeing as though they hired a guard to watch it. I think that history should always be remembered and therefore I think this is a good use of public space. Not only is it remembering the past but it also is a learning opportunity for visitors. This picture shows an example of a public space that should be respected and although is open to anyone, there are rules and guidelines one must follow or there will be consequences.

images-1

The last picture I chose to share was a picture of a “hybrid cars only” parking spot. I thought this was an interesting picture to share for  “going green” and Hybrid cars have become extremely popular in the last few years. Like handicap signs, this sign is placed in public space to secure spots for people who are environmentally friendly. I recently saw this sign at my hometown mall and I noticed that they, like handicap signs, are located close to the building. By placing these signs in public spaces, the creator is hoping to provoke a type of reward for being environmentally friendly. With this reserve parking spot, the creator, most likely a environmental organization or hierarchy, is hoping to have more people convert over from gas to electric. Although going green is very important today, I am not completely sold on these signs being a good use of public space. I believe that this makes a small percentage of people switch to hybrids and being able to park 5 spots closer is not a big enough deal. I think that environmental agencies would be better off placing billboards of the amount of emissions that go into the air, or creating flyers in order to create awareness of how a hybrid can save you money as well as help the environment, then waste the time getting permission to put signs up in public spaces honoring hybrid owners. 

 

 

As I was doing my research I had some trouble coming up with ideas of what I was going to talk about. I kept catching myself finding pictures of private places that were secured instead of public spaces. I then stepped outside the box and realized secure places are everywhere in the public. It was interesting to me to think of why people secured these places and how the environment really changes once an object or person is placed in a public space.