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Nov 25, 2019

Congrel selling sprawling Savannah Dhu conference center foe $65 million

Syracuse, N.Y. — Mall developer Robert Congel is selling his nearly 4,000-acre Savannah Dhu hunting lodge and conference in Wayne County for $65 million.

The property is listed for sale on Sotheby’s International Realty’s website. Set on 3,929 acres in Clyde, 38 miles west of Syracuse, Savannah Dhu boasts 25,000 square feet of interior space, including 10 bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms, four half bathrooms.

Sotheby’s calls the center “truly a world of its own.”

“Savannah Dhu was conceived and created as both a hub and a homestead with the intention to fulfill a number of different purposes: as a meeting-place mecca for innovation, discussion and exploration; as a compound for friends and family to unite and enjoy; as a protected preserve where one can truly return to their roots and live off the simplicity of the land,” it said.

“Roads wind and meander throughout the property, where you will find spectacular lodges, an exquisite conference center capable of accommodating hundreds of guests, barns filled with livestock, organic gardens and greenhouses, as well as several residential homes and outbuildings. Intellectual Exchange Houses, intended for inspirational idea sharing and creation, are punctuated throughout, and an abundance of wildlife runs free.

“Relax, hike, hunt, fish or marvel at the beauty of nature. Richness and fulfillment in life, well-being, and meaning are all found at Savannah Dhu, a place you must experience in person to understand.”

Congel, the founder of the Syracuse-based Pyramid Cos. and principal owner of Destiny USA in Syracuse and numerous other malls in New York and Massachusetts, held many conferences at Savannah Dhu while planning a large expansion of his Carousel Center mall in Syracuse.

The meetings with Pyramid employees and consultants helped produce spectacular plans for a sprawling, futuristic retail and entertainment center with a rooftop park on the city’s lakefront. Enthralled with those plans, the city gave Congel an unprecedented 30-year property tax exemption on the mall. In the end, though, he wound up building a smaller, more conventional addition, which he renamed Destiny USA.

Now 84, Congel is no longer active in the mall development company, having turned over the reins to his son Steve, the company’s CEO, several years ago.

Though smaller than originally planned, Destiny USA is still the largest in New York and one of the largest in the country. It has faced financial challenges in recent years, though, as consumers increasingly shop online and at open-air plazas rather than at malls. Earlier this year, Pyramid faced the possibility of default on $430 million in mortgage loans that were coming due on Destiny USA but worked out an extension with Wells Fargo Bank in June.

Syracuse.com, Nov. 18, 2019

 

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