With the Hudson Valley Mall being sold last week after some difficult years, and additional space likely to open up as more tenants depart (not to mention the still-vacant former Macy’s and JCPenney stores), it may take some creativity to fill it up. Here are some possibilities:
- A large-scale art installation on the theme of “1960s Ulster County”, complete with big cars, long-haired hippies and crew-cut IBMers, all bathed in the warm glow of possibility.
- Combination vape store/dollar store/shooting range.
- Climate-controlled senior housing. The stores will be transformed into condos and the promenade will be terraformed with Florida-style greenery. With malls already a big draw for fitness-conscious senior walking groups, and the snowbird lifestyle not possible/desirable for all, it shouldn’t be a hard sell. (Not as weird as you might think.)
- A Small Hadron Collider for Ulster County Community College physics students.
- The setting for a scene in the Blues Brothers reboot Blues Sisters 2020, starring Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy, in which the two endearingly oblivious, soul-music-loving chanteuses attempt to evade police pursuit by driving through the mall, upending dozens of cell-phone kiosks (and possibly some vaping displays).
- Something to do with solar panels or 3-D printing, partnering with a local university and funded in part by state money for STEM… you know the drill.
- Tribekow (TRIangle BEhind Kings Mall, Olive Garden and Walmart) A painstaking recreation of a mixed-use urban neighborhood, completely self-sufficient with cafes, brew pubs, offices and farmers market. With an area of 765,704 square feet, the mall could accommodate nearly 3,000 young would-be urbanites, taking into account the current trend for smaller apartments. This may involve some public funding, but that should be no problem, as many taxpayers have children who moved to cities in their 20s, and they would love to be able to see them more often. Once completed, Tribekow promises to provide a powerful shot in the arm for the local economy, presumably through some sort of app created by a resident.
- More county offices!