Future Of Northland Transit Hub Veiled In Uncertainty

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) — Having closed two years ago, the future of the Northland Mall in Southfield as a transfer point for DDOT and SMART bus riders is in question.

Dan Dirks, director of the Detroit Department of Transportation, said Wednesday night that a decision on an alternative site to Northland will have to come by the fall.

“Northland has been here forever and this park-and-ride lot — this transfer point — has been here for a long, long time,” Dirks said. “People have really gotten used to it and they’re not sure what the alternative is going to be.”

DDOT and SMART riders gathered in Southfield to voice their concerns. About 2,000 customers still use Northland for bus transfers and “park and ride” service daily.

“For many years, it’s been a really strong hub of transit for transfers between the SMART system and the DDOT system as well as for park-and-ride folks who use the SMART system to get downtown,” Dirks said. “The mall closed in ’15 and we’re still there two years later and so that’s what’s causing us to take a second look.”

The mall, located just north of Detroit, opened in 1954. It was enclosed in 1971 and enjoyed many years of popularity until suffering a steady decline in recent years, eventually losing both Macy’s and Target — its anchor stores.

With Southfield officials cited “changing shopping patterns” as the primary problem, shoppers complained about too much crime.

When the owners defaulted on a $31 million loan, the 70 remaining tenants were evicted and the mall closed for good in March, 2015. The 114-acre property was then purchased by the city for $2.4 million from a court-ordered receiver.

City officials announced a redevelopment plan which includes a mixed-use development of office space, retail, dining, possibly a hotel and housing.

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