Northland Shopping Center: Proactive blight elimination and economic redevelopment

The City of Southfield, Michigan was very proactive in preparing a redevelopment and blight elimination plan for Northland Shopping Center.

Part one of three

The City of Southfield, Michigan was very proactive in preparing a redevelopment and blight elimination plan for Northland Shopping Center. The Center went into receivership in August 2014 and closed March 2015. The Northland Center Downtown Development Authority District (Northland Center) was a 1.4 million square foot property on 121 acres of land. The City plans to demolish the buildings, remediate the site, and sale the property to a qualified developer for the construction of a mixed-use development with office, retail, and residential uses.

Southfield’s Mayor Ken Siver stated the following in the spring 2016 issue of Southfield Living Magazine: [The City of Southfield] bought [Northland Center] because there were not viable offers on the table and the city did not want Northland to fall victim to blight, dumping, graffiti or scrappers. The Northland name is synonymous with Southfield, and it’s important that we find the finest development possible for this site.

 The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development defines mixed-use development as, “The use of a building or set of buildings for more than one purpose. Instead of single use development that can only serve one purpose, mixed use development can combine commercial, industrial, and residential uses on one property”.

The City of Southfield states Northland Center is very important to the economic sustainability of Southfield. Northland Center is:

• Located just north of 8 Mile Road, the border between Detroit and Southfield, it is the important southern entry-way into Southfield from Michigan’s largest city.

• It is adjacent to the Lodge Freeway (M-10), which goes northwest from downtown Detroit through Southfield to West Bloomfield, six miles north of the Detroit/Southfield border.

• The Lodge connects with two other major expressways, the Southfield Freeway and I-696, which are a few miles north of Northland Center.

• About 140,000 vehicles pass the site daily on the Lodge.

• Northland Center is located just south of Southfield’s marquee cluster of five golden skyscrapers known as the “Golden Triangle” that form the contemporary Southfield Town Center office complex with the Westin Hotel and conference center.

• If the site is not demolished and re-developed into a revitalized mixed-use site, it could become an eye-sore that brings down property values for homes and businesses throughout Southfield.

Southfield’s Mayor Siver, stated, “By owning the center, we control the destiny of these 114 acres and will be able to develop the site to its full potential.”

Those in Michigan State University Extension  that focus on land use provide various training programs on planning and zoning, which are available to be presented in your county. Contact your local land use educator for more information.

Part two – Financial problems

Part three – The shopping center turns 30

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