Hudson Valley Mall is a shopping mall located in Kingston, New York. It is the lone mall in Ulster County and is the only mall located between Poughkeepsie and Albany. Owned and managed by The Pyramid Companies, the mall opened in 1981 and has an area of 765,000 feet² on one level with over 70 shops and restaurants as well as a 12-screen Regal Cinema theater. Adjacent to the mall is Hudson Valley Plaza, a two-tiered complex of "big-box" stores on a west-facing hill, consisting mostly of a Walmart, Petsmart and ToysRUs, as well as a few other shops.
Hudson Valley Mall has been notable for its resurgence from near-death after mall owner The Pyramid Companies remodeled and rejuvenated the mall in the late-1990s, as well as being the site of a shooting in 2005 and a murder in 2006 at one of the mall's restaurants.
- Macy's - opened 1995 as Filene's - in former Hess's location (120,000 sq ft.)(2 Floors )
- JCPenney - opened 1981 (67,578 sq ft.)
- Sears - opened 1986 in mall expansion. (110,862 sq ft.)(2Floors )
- Best Buy - opened 2000 - half of former Kmart store.
- Dick's Sporting Goods - opened 2001 - half of former Kmart store.
- Target - opened 2001 - built onto the north end of former Kmart store. (124,000 sq ft.)
At the outset, the mall's anchors were Kmart
, J.C. Penney
, and a Hoyt's six-screen theater (later expanded to 12 screens and renamed under the Regal
name), with an addition coming in 1986, adding Sears
, a food court, plus a south-facing entrance. In 1994, the mall quickly hit a decline when both Hess's (which folded) and Kmart (which moved to a location south of the mall on U.S. Route 9W
) left the mall within months of one another(later this new K-mart location also went out and was to be replaced by a Kohl's department store). Though the Hess's space was filled the next year by Filene's
, the Kmart space stayed vacant, and the north end of the mall suffered in response. During this time, The Pyramid Company
, owner of many malls in New York state including this one, began to plan a drastic renovation process.
As the 21st century started, Pyramid began investing in the mall by doing a complete renovation of the mall's interior as well as using their clout to attract new tenants. The former Kmart space was carved into a Best Buy (opened 2000) and a Dick's Sporting Goods (opened 2001), with Target building a new location adjacent to the space (also opening in 2001). (The Target pad was originally slated to be Lord & Taylor.) On September 9, 2006, the region gained its first Macy's when that chain took over Filene's.
2005 mall shooting
On February 13
, Robert Bonelli of Glasco, New York
, entered the mall with an AK-47
and began firing his weapon inside the Best Buy
located at the mall. Bonelli, age 24, caused a panic as employees and shoppers began to flee the mall. Bonelli moved into the mall corridor and continued firing his weapon until he ran out of ammunition. After running out of bullets, he dropped his gun. At that point one mall worker grabbed his gun, and another tackled Bonelli. The mall was evacuated and Bonelli was taken into custody. Amazingly, no one was killed in the shooting and only two people (a National Guard
recruiter and a 56 year old man) were wounded with one making a full recovery and the other still facing limitations today.
In the wake of the incident, Ulster County investigators searched Bonelli's room at the home he shared with his father, and found what Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams described as "Columbine memorabilia". Officials described the young man as being fascinated by the Columbine High School massacre. Additional searches were conducted by police after videos seized at Bonelli's residence showed him exploding home-made pipe bombs with Kenneth Stine and another individual. Both individuals were later arrested and charged with violating federal explosives laws.
Bonelli was taken to the Ulster County jail; on March 15 2006, Bonelli pleaded guilty and on May 20,2006 was sentenced to 32 years in the state prison (the maximum allowed under the guilty plea). He will be eligible for parole in 26 years.
Murder in the mall
Some time between closing time at the Ground Round on Saturday, June 3
and the morning of Sunday around 9 AM, June 4
, a suspect entered The Ground Round
restaurant in the Hudson Valley mall and stabbed a 42-year-old employee approximately 33 times. Sharon Inger, night manager at the restaurant, was found early Sunday morning when another employee arrived to open the restaurant. $4000 is still missing, according to night receipts. Within the area another woman's body was found around the same time. On September 21
, police named Paul David Despres as the killer of Sharon Inger. Despres had begun employment with the Ground Round just a couple of weeks earlier. Investigators believe Despres went to the restaurant to steal his personnel file, after giving a false name to police during a traffic stop earlier on the night of the murder, around 11:00 PM. Police believe Despres snapped when confronted by Inger, grabbed a knife in the kitchen, and stabbed the victim 33 times around 12:45 AM. The police have offered as evidence three circumstantial items: The fact that there was no employee file for Paul in the employee file cabinet, that $4000 is still missing, and a bite on Inger's body that supposedly matches Paul's impression. The murder weapon was not recovered and there are two photographs taken (one from a cell phone and one from a digital camera) with time stamps within minutes of 1:30 AM, showing Paul holding his traffic stop ticket... with his hair, hands, and clothes clean - and dry. There has been no mention of DNA matches from either the bite nor vehicles available to Paul. Two weeks later, Despres himself died from impacted head trauma. Police concluded he jumped, while intoxicated, from a vehicle driven by a woman he was staying with, who was also intoxicated. Again, stories from witnesses were not consistent and all theories are still under investigation as there are many unanswered questions. Paul Despres' friends and family are working diligently to defend his innocence.
- Baranauckas, Carla. "Gunman opens fire at upstate New York mall." The New York Times. February 13, 2005.
- Hill, Michael. "Gunman opens fire at NY mall; 1 injured." Associated Press. February 13, 2005.
- "Suspect caught after gunfire at New York shopping mall." Reuters. 13, 2005.
- "Witnesses seize New York mall shooter: At least 2 people reported in hospitals." CNN. February 13, 2005.
- Associated Press. "Employee found dead in mall restaurant" Associated Press. June 5, 2006.
- Times-Herald Record. "Ground Round killer identified, cops say."
- Recordonline. http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060922/NEWS/609220328/-1/NEWS10
- Poughkeepsiejournal. http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060922/NEWS05/609220328/1009/NEWS
- Midhudsoncentral. http://www.midhudsoncentral.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17232156&BRD=1769&PAG=461&dept_id=74969&rfi=6
- Midhudsoncentral. http://www.midhudsoncentral.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17155508&BRD=1769&PAG=461&dept_id=74969&rfi=6
- Grand Rapids Press. "Lowell man 'did not kill that woman' "http://www.mlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-32/1159684951206500.xml?grpress?NEG&coll=6
- Paul Despres Website http://www.pauldespres.com/home.shtml