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Northland mall sale closes; redeveloper plans to build housing, commercial space

The City of Southfield finalized the sale Thursday of the abandoned Northland Center mall to a private developer who plans to demolish big portions of the old shopping mall, save some of it and build new housing and commercial space.

Bloomfield Hills-based Contour Companies closed on the $11.1 million purchase agreement for the 97-acre site and the money is sitting in escrow, according to city spokesman Michael Manion. The funds are to be released to the city, and the property’s title transferred to Contour, pending approval later this month of the project’s  development incentives.

The closing is a major step forward in Southfield’s quest to find uses for the Northland property, which has sat empty since the 1.4-million-square-foot mall closed in 2015 following a long and slow decline. Southfield began acquiring parcels of the property later that year to control the mall’s future.

The latest version of Contour’s plan for Northland wasn’t available Thursday, although the company presented a proposal last fall for a multi-phase redevelopment with 1,500 market-rate rental apartments, spread across 14 new five-story buildings, plus the use of Northland’s ground-level retail spaces, where about 250 lofts would be constructed.

Several of the new buildings are to face Greenfield Road and have ground-floor commercial space.

Additionally, the old four-story Macy’s building — originally a Hudson’s — is to be saved and transformed into “Hudson’s City Market” with a possible food hall, home furnishings shops and offices, according to the earlier proposal.

For Contour, the next step is to win approval from state economic development officials for a brownfield tax-increment financing proposal to make the project financially feasible. Under such a plan, future tax revenues generated at the site would be redirected to paying redevelopment costs.

The Michigan Strategic Fund is expected to take up the brownfield plan at its July 27 meeting, city officials said. Full details about Contour’s vision for the site, including the project’s anticipated groundbreaking date, could be released then.

Contour CEO David Dedvukaj issued a statement Thursday about the purchase deal’s closing.

“The Northland acquisition has been a collaborative effort with the great City of Southfield and a project we strongly believe will enhance the life of Southfield residents and metro Detroiters alike,” the statement said.

“Contour Companies is honored and humbled to take on this historical project and we thank the City of Southfield for their endless efforts to get us here. We look forward to breaking ground and bringing all the glory back to Northland.”

The city is to contribute about $20 million toward the project to help with various demolition, redevelopment and road and sewer upgrade costs. Southfield Mayor Ken Siver previously said that he expects the city to more or less break even on its Northland acquisition and redevelopment efforts.

Contour has done previous housing rehab projects and some all-new construction, and Northland will be the firm’s most ambitious project to date.

Northland was one of the largest shopping malls in the world when it opened in March 1954 and was expanded several times, becoming an enclosed mall in the early 1970s.


Posted By: Detroit Free Press on July 15, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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