Southfield eyes huge transformation at Northland site

Posted on August 24, 2016

The old Northland Center mall property in Southfield would be transformed into a massive residential, commercial and retail project anchored by a new public park under a redevelopment concept unveiled Tuesday night.

The proposal covers all 125 acres of the mostly city-owned mall site, and assumes that nearly all of the empty shopping center, which closed last year, would be torn down and purchased by private-sector developers. It would represent one of the most ambitious mixed-use development visions in Oakland County since last decade’s failed “Bloomfield Park” project.

The Northland redevelopment plan was commissioned by the city of Southfield and produced by OHM Advisors after four months of market study and consultation with area property owners and other stakeholders.

“What you see today is essentially the draft concept for where we’re going,” said Aaron Domini, principal of OHM Advisors, in an interview Tuesday, just prior to the concept’s unveiling at the Southfield Public Library. “We are creating a destination that has a mix of uses and a project that can be developed as parts.”

Southfield spokesman Michael Manion said the city will soon issue a request for proposals from interested developers. The city bought the mall property for $2.4 million last year and is looking to sell parcels of the site once the old mall structure is torn down. The demolition could begin as early as this fall and cost upwards of $10 million.


The redevelopment concept was designed to be tackled in sections — not necessarily all at once. However, if someone were to build the entire redevelopment concept, such a project would likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars, said Domini.

“It’s not going to be one project,” Domini said. “It’s going to be a series of probably five, 10, maybe 20 separate projects. But they all are coordinated under this vision, this master plan.”

“I am absolutely impressed by this. This is an awesome plan,” said Darrell Joyce, a Southfield school board member in the audience.

Highlights of the redevelopment concept for Northland include:

  • A new 8 to 10-acre public park with pond.
  • 850 residential units, from apartments to townhouses to student housing
  • A 125-room hotel.
  • 185,000 square feet of new retail space
  • 170,000 square feet of medical office space.
  • An additional 200,000 square feet of versatile space, including research and development uses.
  • A 100-room assisted living center.

Under the plan, the only above-ground part of Northland mall that could potentially be saved is the shell of the original Hudson’s department store (most recently Macy’s). The mall’s labyrinthine system of tunnels could also be used as future parking.

The city is in talks with Triumph Church about obtaining the former JC Penney store, which the church bought in late 2013 before the mall closed, Manion said.

To view the project presentation, click here