Demolition Begins At Defunct Northland Mall [VIDEO]

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Demolition is now underway at the oldest mall in America — right here in metro Detroit.

It’s phase one of the tear-down of the defunct Northland Center Mall, which is now owned by the city of Southfield. A giant backhoe arrived on the 125-acre property Thursday morning, and began chipping away at the vacant Target store.

Southfield Mayor Ken Siver says it’s bittersweet to see it go:

“It’s sad,” he told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Zahra Huber, as he watched the crew at work. “I believe in adaptive reuse, but we just couldn’t find another use for this building. However, we have plans to reinvent the former Hudson’s department store; our plan is to save that and adaptive reuse of that.”

“Plus, we’re working on save the tunnels and a lot of the underground infrastructure,” the mayor added.

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, losing both Macy’s and Target — its anchor stores.

While city officials cited “changing shopping patterns” as the primary problem, shoppers complained about crime, and the struggling, half-empty mall closed permanently in 2015.

“Times change. This is the evolution,” Siver said. “Obviously, we all know retail is changed in a major shift, so you an either feel paralyzed by that and do nothing, or you can say this is what’s happening and we need to move forward.”

Siver said they hope Amazon chooses the location for their second headquarters; but if not, they have other offers.

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