The transformation of the Oakdale Commons in Johnson City is underway.

Dick’s House of Sport officially opened earlier this month as the anchor tenant in the $100 million project, which will attempt to revitalize the space formerly known as Oakdale Mall. Spanning two floors and over 140,000 square feet, House of Sport is the largest Dick’s store in the world. In addition to footwear and other sporting goods, the property features batting cages, an indoor golf simulator, an outdoor turf field and bike repair shop. Visitors can expect a Chipotle and a Panera Bread by the end of 2023, and a BJ’s Wholesale Club and a Dave and Buster’s by the end of summer 2024.

Johnson City Mayor Martin Meaney expressed optimism about the future of the Oakdale Commons, describing it as a destination for both local residents and visitors.

“It’s great,” Meaney said. “Not just for Johnson City, but for the entire region. This is going to be a regional draw. This was a dying mall, and the people at Spark JC have really come up with a brilliant way to rebrand and rebirth the mall.”

Spark JC partner Douglas Matthews described the new Oakdale Commons as more than a traditional mall, emphasizing the importance of wellness.

“We wanted to bring this mall back in a way that really enhances people’s lives,” Matthews said. “That started with Lourdes Hospital and the Wellness Center. House of Sport also plays to the wellness and health of families by keeping people active and providing a unique interactive approach, which is much different than the traditional mall model.”

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar worked with Spark JC throughout the construction process. He said that while malls have fallen out of favor in the era of online retail, the Oakdale Commons rebrand can provide a blueprint for other malls in the country.

“In 2017, Oakdale Mall was pretty much destined to become shuttered,” Garnar said. “You look at the mall now, and it’s really come back from the dead. By next year, it will be pretty much filled up, and it will be a really good example of how to turn around struggling malls across America.”

The first Dick’s Sporting Goods store opened in Binghamton in 1948 as a bait-and-tackle shop. Garnar described the connection between the company and the local community as “special.”

Nora Monasheri, a first-year graduate student studying business administration, said that the Oakdale Commons update will help connect students and their communities.

“It generates more talk and buzz in the community,” Monasheri said. “It can be a destination for people of all ages, and possibly can foster more positive connections between community members and students. It’s another activity for [Binghamton University] students to engage in.”

Oakdale Commons is around 10 minutes away from campus and is accessible via the Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) and Broome County bus services. Daniel Shulman, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, has already visited the new location and enjoys the variety that it offers.

“There are really a lot of things to do,” Shulman said. “You can go and do your regular shopping for sneakers and things like that, but there’s also an outdoor basketball court and batting cages inside. It’s nice to have something different to do in Binghamton.”