Plan for Northland Center property would make it Michigan’s largest apartment development

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A proposal presented to Southfield City Council on Monday would turn the closed Northland Center into perhaps the state’s largest mixed-use apartment complex, sparing the mall and former JL Hudson department store from demolition.

In total, in two phases, Bloomfield Hills-based Contour Companies LLC’s ambitious vision for 97 acres of the 120-acre site would bring together 2,885 apartments, lofts, and townhouses across three different components. It would also convert the former Hudson store into 337,000 square feet of food, furnishings and entertainment space similar to the Ponce City Market, in a former Sears Corp catalog facility. in Atlanta.

Bruce Kopytek, chief architect of Contour Companies, told the Southfield Planning Commission late last month that where other developers plan to demolish the mall, his company sees the value in keeping it.

“Other proposals had put forward the idea of ​​demolishing the mall and saving the Hudson store, but in our opinion the original mall was attractive,” he said. “It would be nice to restore this building, it was a pioneer when it opened and it was really a national story at the time. “

The Northland Center was the world’s largest shopping mall when it opened in 1954, which the Detroit Historical Society estimated cost around $ 30 million. It was closed two decades later. Its mix of other amenities, including things like auditoriums, art, fountains and landscaping, were models for malls across the country, according to the historical company.

Contour – which is registered with David Dedvukaj – is proposing the construction of 1,339 new workforce apartments in 14 five-story buildings, six of which contain 95,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor along Greenfield Road, including uses.

In addition, the commercial spaces on the first floor of the Northland Center would be converted into 254 residences such as live work units or artist lofts, Kopytek said last month.

And the old Hudson store would become the Hudson City Market, completing the first phase of the project.

The second phase along the Northwestern Highway and on JL Hudson Drive would bring an additional 1,292 units, Kopytek said at the planning committee meeting. City council documents indicate that the second phase includes some townhouses, although the exact number is not known. Another element of the plan is to transform the power station into a community clubhouse and to keep the water tower; some of the artwork in the mall should also be registered.

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