'It was pretty dead.' Community reacts to Lakeside Mall closing on July 1

Lakeside Mall closing
Posted at 9:30 AM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 17:46:42-04

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights will officially close on July 1 as part of a redevelopment plan.

VIDEO: See the Lakeside Mall redevelopment animation

VIDEO: See the Lakeside Mall redevelopment animation

The Florida-based developer who purchased the property in 2019, Lionheart Capital, has plans to turn the mall into a mixed-use retail, office, and residential space. There will also be a park and a hotel added. The project is expected to cost upwards of $1 billion and take several years.

After the July 1 closure, big box stores Macy's and JC Penney are expected to remain open.

"I grew up in Saint Clair shores and so we would come in and the Easter bunny would always be here and the cinema. We also saw the movies there. Like I said, I saw Grease here when it opened up," said Sally Zawicki as she visited the mall Wednesday. "The last time I was here, it was pretty dead. It was kind of scary. All the stores were closed. I don’t even think the elevator was working anymore."

Saint Clair Shores Native Sally Zawicki weighs in on the new Lakeside Mall Development.

"Unfortunately it’s kinda dead, not a lot of choices. I basically just go for Macy's," said Diana Klein who lives in neighboring Chesterfield Township.

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Chesterfield Township resident Diana Klein weighs in on the new Lakeside Mall Development.

Klein says she's excited to see what comes of the project.

"I feel like it a a great idea because shopping has changed so much, especially since the pandemic. I think everything is online now. I miss in store shopping," she added.

City leaders say not only will the project bring a fresh place to shop, it will also give Sterling Heights a city center.

Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool weighs in on the new Lakeside Mall Development.

"We started noting the trends at least 10 years ago. It was pretty clear that the future for malls in the country was not promising so we embarked on a very ambitious master planning project in 2015," said City Manager Mark Vanderpool. "Of course Sterling Heights doesn’t have a traditional downtown or town center. We have very vibrant corridors and commercial manufacturing but we don’t have a downtown and how many cities get to build a downtown? It takes decades, centuries for downtowns to evolve and we have a chance to do it right now."

Vanderpool says news of the project has already begun to attract more businesses to the bustling Hall Rd.

"The economic impact is hundreds of millions of dollars and that’s an important point too. It’s not just going to be a re-imagined area here, it’s going to be a focal point forever more. This synergy that’s created in this spin off for all the businesses around here is invaluable and more businesses are coming," said Vanderpool.

VIDEO: Community reacts to Lakeside Mall redevelopment plan:

Lakeside Mall redevelopment delayed by a year

The developer has plans to demolish the mall to pave the way for the project.

They say the groundbreaking is expected for late 2025 with construction of a bike and hike trail to begin this year connecting the development to the Iron Belle Trail, Freedom Trail and Dodge Park Trail.

"Lakeside Mall's closure marks the beginning of an exciting transformation," said Allison Greenfield, Principal and Chief Development Officer of Lionheart Capital in a statement. "We are committed to collaborating with the City of Sterling Heights to create a vibrant urban center that celebrates the area's unique character and history."