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Lakeside Mall to close this summer ahead of redevelopment

Posted By: The Detroit News on May 1, 2024.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

The owner of Lakeside Mall has set July 1 as its closing date, paving the way for a $1 billion redevelopment of the Sterling Heights site.

Miami-based Lionheart Capital’s retail subsidiary Out of the Box Ventures announced the upcoming closure of the struggling mall Wednesday. The plan is part of a previously approved master plan that calls for a mixed-use development.

“Lakeside Mall’s closure marks the beginning of an exciting transformation,” Allison Greenfield, principal and chief development officer of Lionheart Capital, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are committed to collaborating with the City of Sterling Heights to create a vibrant urban center that celebrates the area’s unique character and history.”

The announcement comes after Sterling Heights accepted a $3 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. last month to help Lionheart Capital buy from other owners of two defunct department stores at the mall, the former Sears and Lord & Taylor.

In November 2022, Sterling Heights City Council voted to approve a memorandum of understanding with Out of the Box Ventures. The project is expected to redevelop the almost 110-acre mall site at Hall and Schoenherr roads into a mixed-use development. It is expected to feature residences, retail stores, dining, parks, a hotel and office space.

Groundbreaking on the development, called Lakeside Town Center, is set for late 2025, according to the developer.

“Sterling Heights eagerly anticipates the Lakeside Mall redevelopment, which aligns with our community’s vision for innovation, enriched living, creation of distinctive areas, connectivity and accessibility,” Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said in a statement. “As this transformative project unfolds, making sure our residents are consistently informed and actively engaged in the process will be a top priority.”

The news of the mall’s closing date is likely to end some of the concern mall tenants have expressed since the redevelopment plan was announced in late 2022.

Alex Habre, owner of Sparkles Jewelry, said he learned of the closing date on Wednesday through media reports.

“We were hoping that we’ll stay at the mall to the end of the year, but apparently not,” he said.

Habre said that in anticipation of the mall’s closure, he found a new location for his store in a shopping center at 21 Mile and Card roads in Macomb Township, about 4.5 miles away from Lakeside Mall. He said now that he knows the closure is July 1, he’ll have to scramble to prepare the new store to open by the end of June.

“We have to expedite it,” he said. “You’re going be paying probably double for the painter, double for the framer to do that. Just to give them incentive to come and do the job, so we’re able to open and keep serving our customers. We have customers who have repairs, we have layaways, we finance things. It wasn’t good news.”

Habre and other mall tenants had questioned for more than a year how their tenancy would be impacted by the planned redevelopment.

“We were just wondering,” he said. “We’re in limbo … At least we have a date. Not the date that we expected. But at least now we can know we are leaving. We tell our customers we’re leaving and the date and the location and everything.”

Lakeside Mall is among Metro Detroit retail properties to be redeveloped in the past decade. The former Eastland Center in Harper Woods, which closed in 2021, is now home to an industrial complex with its first tenant, automotive supplier Thai Summit. And the former Northland Center, which closed in 2015, is the site of a mixed-use development under construction in Southfield.

Lakeside Mall, which opened in 1976, is an outdated development, said Kees Janeway, a retail mall expert and managing partner at Iconic Real Estate in Detroit.

“It’s ready for redevelopment,” he said. “All of Hall Road has grown up around it, probably in conjunction with and as a result of it. But it’s past its prime. And so it’s time for reimagination of that segment of Hall Road.”

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