SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) – Northland Center has been purchased by the city of Southfield which plans to demolish the shuttered shopping mall to make the land available for new development.

The city says Wednesday that the 114-acre property was bought for $2.4 million from a court-ordered receiver. Tearing down the structure and cleaning up the land is expected to cost up to $10 million.

Mayor Donald Fracassi said the city bought the mall “to protect, maintain and ultimately increase the property values for Southfield’s home and business owners.”

The mall, located just north of Detroit, opened in 1954. It was enclosed in 1971 and enjoyed many years of popularity after a steady decline in recent years — eventually losing its anchor stores. Early this year, Macy’s announced that its store would close in that location, and the Target there shut its doors.

About 70 tenants remained when a judge ruled in February that a court-appointed receiver could begin closing the center after the owners defaulted on a $31 million loan. Those remaining tenants were evicted and the mall closed for good in March.

Area residents told WWJ Newsradio 950 too much crime was truly to blame for the mall’s downfall.

Southfield’s Community Relations Director Michael Manion says demolishing the defunct mall is the best way to move forward.

“You know, if have found memories of shopping there myself, as like many of us do, and it really is unfortunate that the changing shopping patterns and whatnot not led to its decline,” he told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill.

“But I’m optimistic that we’re going to see an exiting new development there,” Manion said. “And it’s really just a fitting tribute to the former glory days of the mall to see that kind of Phoenix rise again.”

Manion said the city wants control of what goes in the spot — possibly condos and shops.

Demolition and cleanup could take a year to complete.

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