Patrons, tenants: Mall not achieving its potential

Amanda Helda, manager at Avenue, said even though the mall has lost tenants in recent years, a strong customer base has kept the clothing store afloat.

The store occupied the mall for the past 20 years, Helda said.

"We really don't get impacted," she said.

She said she is hopeful to see more tenants and patrons visit the mall in coming months, though.

"I hope it comes alive," she said.

She said there are leaks above the store that are causing mold to develop in the tiles, and replacing the tiles only solves the problem temporarily since the leak continues.

She would like to see the mall either fixed up or torn down to start over, she said.

Roger Gaetano, proprietor of Blade Masters, said he has been in the mall for 13 years, and was unhappy with the effort put forth by former owner Eugene Weiss.

"I watched its demise," he said.

He said Weiss made promises about renovating and maintaining the mall that he never followed through on.

"You knew he was lying through his teeth," Gaetano said.

"The roof was falling apart. No care, no concern, no nothing. He played a lot of games with people."

Gaetano said he chose the location because "it's still the best mall in the area."

Although, he is hopeful that new owners can improve the situation, Gaetano remains skeptical.

"They can't do much worse," he said. "But I want to see some work done. The patience is running low."

Mary Brizzell, who was Colonie supervisor from 1996-2008, said she hopes the mall can find success in the future.

She said the comments Weiss has made in the past about her administration blocking the mall's success "annoyed me to no end."

"I bent over backwards for him." She said. "That really put me over the edge."

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