It’s no question, malls across the region, and even the nation, have faced a number of challenges over the past couple of years. The Oakdale Mall in Johnson City is no different, losing nearly all of its anchor stores, like Sears. But step inside and it’s anything but quiet.

Construction is underway on a multi-million dollar project that would turn most of the former store into the Lourdes Health and Fitness center. It’ll include everything from fitness rooms to three, full-size aquatics areas.

For general manager Mark Powell, it’s a full circle moment. He actually worked in this very Sears before leaving the area, then returned to work for Lourdes.

“I’ve been in this for a long time, and coming back here to the Binghamton area, Broome County and having a facility like this being built in our community for our community is very, very special to me personally,” said Powell.


What You Need To Know

  • The multi-million dollar project will include everything from fitness rooms to three, full-size aquatics areas
  • The Matthews and Newman families have developed projects all over the Southern Tier and even the country, and they’re not looking to do the same at what they’re calling “Oakdale Commons”
  • It’ll be a mixed-use facility and re-imagine the mall as a whole

Being that it will be a hospital-based facility, it’ll take a bit of a different approach than a typical gym might. When you sign up, you’ll be assigned a personal trainer and a nurse who will use new technology to help you meet your goals.

“We’re going to measure your body fat, visceral fat, muscle mass and body water weight. After that, you’re actually going to meet with a personal trainer for a two-step process. That personal trainer is going to be with you throughout your entire fitness journey,” said Powell.

This new approach for malls is becoming a trend nationwide. Companies or hospitals in this case are drawn to the large vacant stores and the location of the mall.

“It’s right off the highway. It’s easy for people to get to. It really helps our ability to expand access to care,” said Ben Robinson, Lourdes orthopedics service director.

“It’s a great asset to our community. This building was the centerpiece for a very long time for people to shop and entertainment venues and things of that nature, and now to see it coming back, it actually brings out the fact that the Broome County area itself is starting to come back a bit,” said Powell.

This construction comes at a time when two prominent families from the Southern Tier have just completed a purchase of the entire Oakdale Mall. The Matthews and Newman families have developed projects all over the Southern Tier and even the country, and they’re not looking to do the same at what they’re calling “Oakdale Commons.”

“I think the community should be very excited. We’re excited. It’s opportunity to bring back an aging mall that’s basically 50-years-old and we’re going to transform it. It’s going to take time,” said Marc Newman, Oakdale Commons co-owner.

While this construction is just one example, you can expect this mall to look a bit different in the future.

“We know there’s challenges, but we also know that this is going to be a really tremendous, mixed-use, regional site and development. We’re really excited,” said Newman.

Construction on the Lourdes project is expected to be completed in the spring. No exact price for memberships has been given, but the hospital recommend signing up earlier for a lower price.

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