On March 22, 1954, Northland Center, the first regional shopping center, opened in Michigan. Architect Victor Gruen designed this mall, and its construction began in 1952. The 1.4 million square foot property was constructed at about $25 million and served as a significant part of Metro Detroit’s landscape. At its opening, the center had an estimated 80 spaces for tenants and 7,500 parking slots.
Northland Center showcased the future of shopping in America, featuring department stores, a bank, auditoriums, post office, artwork, extensive landscaping with fountains, and beautiful sculptures. The mall also had an extensive underground service tunnel where trucks delivered the merchandise to the tenants. This was efficient in preserving the outside parking lot and exterior front doors for customers.
With continuing developments, shoppers kept flocking the center. Visitors at the center enjoyed the convenience and unparalleled experience of shopping under one roof. In just about two years of operation, the center became the largest shopping mall attracting high occupancy to popular tenants such as Target, Macy’s, and Firestone buildings.
However, the glory of Northland Center declined as it aged and as better shopping options emerged. Just past the turn of the millennium, major tenants vacated their premises, with the volume of shoppers also drastically falling. On March 22, 2015, the mall was closed after 61 years of serving the local community. The city of Southfield purchased the property for $2.4 million for redevelopment. Currently, Northland Center is vacant.