Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights reveals plans for Lakeside City Center, the $1B redevelopment of Lakeside Mall

What’s happening: It’s a rare occurrence when a well-developed city like Sterling Heights has the opportunity to reimagine 110 acres of prime real estate. But that’s exactly what’s happening at the intersection of Hall and Schoenherr roads, the site of Lakeside Mall since its opening in 1976. The City of Sterling Heights and Out of the Box Ventures, the retail subsidiary of Miami-based Lionheart Capital that purchased the property in 2019, are moving forward with their plans to reimagine the indoor shopping mall as a walkable and vibrant mixed-use city center as part of a $1 billion redevelopment plan released late last month.

Why it’s important: Lakeside Mall is coming down and in its place will rise Lakeside City Center, taking the now-struggling indoor shopping mall trend of the second half of the 20th century and flipping it inside out to create a city center that’s more in line with traditional downtown infrastructure (and 21st century trends): walkable city streets with parks and amenities, and mixed-use buildings filled with shops and residential units. It’s an especially remarkable opportunity for a community like Sterling Heights, which lacks that traditional downtown infrastructure and “Main Street” it now looks to build.

“This project will deliver so much of our community’s wish list — thousands of jobs, more restaurants, entertainment, housing, and a complete new look, to name a few,” says Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor.

What’s planned:
A lot. Developers plan to build more than 2,800 multi-family apartments, 750 of which will be reserved for senior housing — allowing older residents to stay in Sterling Heights when they’re ready to downsize. There will be 150,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurants, 60,000 sq. ft. of office space, and a 120-room hotel. Out of the Box Ventures has also announced that it plans to donate approximately 30 of its 110 acres to the public realm, which will be utilized to develop new parks, streetscapes, and infrastructure. Lakeside Mall anchor stores Macy’s and JCPenney will remain onsite, operating during and after construction. It’s expected that demolition of the mall could begin as soon as 2024; the city center will open in phases over the next decade and beyond.

More details: A large central park will anchor the development, with restaurants lining its edges and outdoor event spaces throughout. A two-story community center will overlook the park and feature swimming pools, fitness facilities, lending libraries, and more. Tech-ready and adaptable “great streets” will be designed and each with its own character, lined with local businesses and able to accommodate community events. Circling the development will be the one-and-a-half-mile-long Lyrical Loop, a non-motorized parkway and greenspace.

What they’re saying: “We are honored to be working with the city of Sterling Heights to help breathe new life into an area that has been underutilized for decades, and in so doing, create thousands of new jobs,” says Allison Greenfield, Principal and Chief Development Officer of Lionheart Capital. “Lakeside will provide a wide range of market-rate housing options for all demographics, from the young professional to the senior. Its location close to major thoroughfares, yet away from residential zones will help to minimize traffic in single-family neighborhoods. We are proud to be part of a project that promotes the best in urban revitalization principles, while acknowledging the unique character and history of the Sterling Heights community.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.