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Crossgates chief talks about changes, future

"Right now we are focusing on remixing the center and bringing in new tenants," he said.

Kathy Burbank, executive director of the Chamber, said that the economic downturn resulted in a number of mall tenants to joining the Chamber in hopes of spurring their businesses.

"We knew the economic downturn had hit Guilderland in November and December when mall stores were coming to us," she said.

In addition to Hana, Castaldo said the mall will be welcoming a number of new tenants and expansions, including the expansion of Forever 21 and Aeropostale, and the addition of Fresh Wraps, CafE Fresh, Gertrude Hawk and CCS Footwear.

He said the mall is also in negotiations to lease out 10 additional spots, however, he would not comment on the ongoing negotiations.

Castaldo also said he would like to see a day spa, comedy club or "things of that nature that are outside of the box things that keep people there longer."

Town Board member and small business owner Mark Grimm, who chairs the First Friday Breakfast Series, said that Castaldo represents an opportunity for the town and the mall to have a constructive relationship.

"He has exactly the right attitude. It's a big opportunity to reach out to the community," he said. "Outreach is the first step to a constructive relationship."

Grimm said the mall is a huge asset to Guilderland's school district.

"They are handing a huge check to the school district and saying, 'Here take this, and we won't send one kid to the schools," he said.

According to Grimm, the mall gives about $5 million each year to the district.

"There is a give and take with regards to town services," he said, adding that it is important for the town and mall to work together rather than have an unproductive and antagonistic relationship.

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