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Eastland Center heads to auction; Harper Woods proposes new city hall on site

Harper Woods is proposing to move its civic center to the Eastland Center property as part of a mixed-use redevelopment if the long-struggling shopping mall is sold at auction next month.

A concept plan by Northville-based McKenna Associates shows a reuse of the site at 18000 Vernier Road that includes 450,000 square feet of civic space surrounded by 680 apartments and row houses. An 84,000-square-foot hotel and 20,000 square feet of restaurant space are also included in the plan, which was presented to City Council last week.

It’s not known what would happen to the existing city hall or police department property on Harper Avenue, or how many square feet the city would need as part of a relocation. The city did not make officials available for comment Monday morning. McKenna Associates deferred comment to the city.

The mall, which opened in 1957, goes to auction Oct. 9-11.

Eastland Center has tens of millions in unpaid debt stemming from a September 2006 commercial mortgage-backed securities loan that matured in October 2016, according to data from New York City-based Trepp LLC. The current balance is $36.46 million, and the loan from Wachovia went into foreclosure in May 2015.

The special servicer on the debt is Needham, Mass.-based CWCapital Asset Management LLC. The previous owner was Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., the same company that defaulted on Northland Center in Southfield, which closed in 2015.

Of Eastland’s approximately 1.4 million square feet, about 640,000 square feet are going up for auction coordinated by Southfield-based real estate brokerage Farbman Group, the news release says. That does not include the former Macy’s and Target stores, or the Lowe’s and Home Depot properties.

The mall has suffered in recent years as large tenants including TargetMacy’s and Burlington Coat Factory have closed as online shopping and consumer trends have battered the retail industry overall.

It was last sold in February 2006 for $50 million, according to CoStar Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based real estate information service. CoStar says the mall is 75.9 percent occupied and sits on 61 acres of land.

Current tenants include Shoppers World, Payless Shoe Source, Kay Jewelers and Finish Line, according to the online brochure marketing the auction.

The brochure says the summer taxes were about $244,000 and the winter taxes were about $374,000.


Posted By: Crain’s Detroit Business on September 24, 2018.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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