Southfield Talks with Developers as Firestone Demolition Begins Monday at Northland
(SOUTHFIELD, Mich.) — Demolition of the Firestone building at the former Northland Center is slated to begin on Monday, August 27 at 9 a.m. The Southfield City Council unanimously voted to award the contract for the Firestone and Target buildings demolition to Dore & Associates of Bay City, Michigan ($572,650.00 + contingency) last fall.
The city of Southfield purchased the closed Northland Center mall at Eight Mile Road and the Lodge Freeway, located in the City’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) District, from the court-ordered receiver in October of 2015 for $2.4 million with plans to remediate, demolish and sell the property to a qualified developer. The environmental assessment, asbestos abatement and remediation of the former Firestone building has been completed. The complete demolition of the building is expected to take less than two weeks. As the environmental assessment and remediation of the remainder of the mall and other buildings continues, further demolition is expected to take place in the coming months.
Numerous developers have submitted letters of intent and the City has entered in to due diligence agreements with several developers who have expressed a strong interest in the property. The City is currently in continued discussions with Edward Rose & Sons, a Bloomfield Hills-based luxury residential developer that is interested in approximately 30 acres on the northwest side of the property for a residential development, including senior housing. Negotiations also continue with San Diego-based Pacific Medical Buildings (PMB), one of the country’s preeminent full-service healthcare real estate developers. PMB is proposing to build a mixed-use medical development on 25-30 acres on the northeast side of the property directly across from Providence Hospital. General Development Corporation (GDC), a Southfield-based commercial real estate development firm which specializes in built-to-suit office, industrial and R&D projects, has also expressed interest in developing 20 acres of the property on the southwest side.
As each developer has progressed to various stages of their respective due diligence process, a continuing point of discussion relates to the cost of infrastructure improvements required to support the proposed developments. To facilitate and expedite progress, the Southfield City Council recently approved expenditures to perform infrastructure improvements at the site. These expenditures are delineated among sanitary sewer, water, storm sewer, road improvement (JL Hudson Drive-Greenfield to Providence), and further demolition beginning on the northern portion of the mall. The City’s infrastructure expenditures will be repaid
through the sale or lease of the Northland property and the Tax Increment Finance Authority. Repayment is predicated on a taxable development taking place at the property.
“The former Northland site represents an outstanding opportunity for a vibrant new mixed-use development of residential, retail, office, medical and green space,” commented Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver. “The Northland name is synonymous with Southfield, and it is imperative that we find the very best use of the site and fit for the community. We are very excited about the current developments proposed and we remain confident that this project will be a great success. We are literally paving the way for redevelopment and we hope that this project can be a model for other communities across the country.”
The Southfield City Council approved a master plan for the 125-acre redevelopment last year that is a conceptional, market driven blueprint that outlines the standards and vision for developers of the former mall property. Planning consultants OHM Advisors and HRC conducted a thorough technical analysis of the site, examination of the existing buildings/structures, an assessment of environmental factors, and a market analysis to determine the best possible development potential for the former mall. The resulting plan offers a dynamic mix of housing options, R&D, medical office, retail, entertainment and dining.
The master plan is based on a series of development blocks/districts that collectively create a safe and vibrant mixed-use destination for southeast Michigan residents, businesses, and visitors. The Plan is intended to be highly flexible to adapt to market conditions. While adaptable, the development of the area will stay true to the vision of vibrancy, safety, inclusion, innovation, health and wellness, sustainability, and community. High quality architecture and public spaces are essentials to the long-term success of the project. Attention to detail and brand elements will continue to be a key focus of the redevelopment of the area with the goal of creating more than just another new development – Northland will be a place to call home.
When Northland Center opened in March 1954, it was the largest shopping mall in the world, 20 years later, in 1974, the mall was enclosed. Northland led the way for Southfield to become a major commercial, business and residential center in metropolitan Detroit. At the time of the original center’s completion, Southfield’s population was only 25,000. Fifteen years later, the population had more than doubled to 69,000, and today the city boasts over 73,000 residents and a daytime population reaching 175,000. Alongside the contribution to population growth, the Center helped foster enormous office expansion. Today, Southfield boasts more than 27 million square feet of office space, making it one of Michigan’s leading business centers.
For more information, contact the Southfield Downtown Development Authority at (248) 796-5190 or visit www.imaginenorthland.com.