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Southfield sells Northland mall property for $11.1M

After entertaining a number of interested parties, the city of Southfield has finally inked an $11.1 million deal with Bloomfield Hills-based Contour Cos. for a majority of the 114-acre former Northland Center property.

The signing of the deal, which was announced July 29, came shortly after the city received approval of a $26 million Michigan Strategic Fund investment July 26 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The original Northland Center opened in 1954 as the largest shopping mall in the world at the time. The city bought the shuttered property in 2015 for $2.4 million.

“I think it was meant to be that we made it and we found the right developer,” Southfield Mayor Ken Siver said, adding that previous offers from a major retailer, a car dealership, and other commercial developments were also considered but were never realized.

“This is going to be a major kickstart for the entire southeastern corner of the city of Southfield. It’s really going to have a great impetus in the renewal of an area that honestly has been down on the heels for a bit. We’re extremely pleased that we have this development.”

Contour Cos.’ development proposal, which will sit on approximately 100 acres of the site, plans to include a mix of uses, including restaurants, retailers, office buildings and housing.

“The project consists of two phases: a 1,339-unit mixed-use apartment community that will provide comfortable and dynamic workforce housing in 14, five-story buildings. Six of these buildings will have a commercial component on the ground floor facing Greenfield Road,” Contour Cos. CEO David Dedvukaj said in a press release.  “The massive J.L. Hudson Co. store, once the largest branch department store in the world, will be returned to use as the Hudson City Market, a vibrant food and specialty home furnishings marketplace filled with dining and entertainment options. The marketplace will be developed in the spirit of the highly successful Ponce City Market in Atlanta.”

He said that phase two, located along Northwestern Highway and on J.L. Hudson Drive, will “complement and complete the development’s sense of community by incorporating more mixed-use residential buildings, townhomes fronting on a landscaped green space complete with a pond and other amenities. The landmark power plant will become a community clubhouse, and the familiar Northland water tower will also remain in place.”

The project’s overall costs will total approximately $402.5 million, subsequently fueling 500 new full-time equivalent jobs, increased density, and a more robust, walkable development. Contour Cos. could not be reached for further comment by press time.

With phase one plans consisting of a new apartment community, Siver said he believes that type of development is needed in the city currently.

“Right now, we’re having a housing crunch. People are looking for homes and are having a hard time finding them,” he said. “The other thing is, people want new things. They want new housing, new floor plans, and this project is going to provide that.”

Demolition of the JCPenny building, which shuttered before the city purchased the property, and an on-site auto service center will be seen in the immediate future, Siver said, as well as a groundbreaking ceremony for the first two buildings on Greenfield Road, slated for October.

“In an economic move, the city of Southfield stockpiled dirt that was given to us for free, and (it) will be used to fill in Penny’s and other areas of the mall that are going to be demolished,” Siver said.

Not everything at the site will be demolished and built new, which pleases Siver — a historical preservationist — to hear. “I believe we can’t keep tearing down everything. It’s not sustainable. Everything shouldn’t be going to a landfill, so I’m extremely pleased that Contour Cos. is doing an adaptive reuse of almost all of the original mall,” he said, adding that he’s heard several stories from residents about the sentimental value the property holds in the region.

Not only is Siver excited to have the property’s original 1950s logo and mirroring architecture slated to blend in with the Hudson Department Store’s original build, but the city is expected to recoup the money it invested into the process, which totals $49.3 million of direct support.

The city recently sold another five acres of the property to Ascension Health, which plans to use it for expansion of its Providence Hospital campus. Between those two closing sales, the city expects to be made whole on their investment, a press release states.

The cherry on top for the city, Siver believes, is that the project will “ignite redevelopment in the entire southeast corner,” he said, adding that he’s started to receive inquiries from other entities hoping to establish themselves near the forthcoming development.

“The City purchased Northland because we wanted to control the destiny of this very strategic and historic property,” added Northland Steering Committee Chair/Councilman Lloyd Crews in the press release. “This redevelopment will create jobs and opportunities for our residents and provide our community with something that we can all enjoy and be proud of for years to come.”


Posted By: C&G Newspapers on August 10, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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