Sterling Heights

Michigan's largest mall sells for $26m, plans for mixed development

Sterling Heights’ Lakeside Mall has officially been purchased by Out of the Box Ventures, a subsidiary of Florida-based Lionheart Capital, for $26.5 million. The property deal closed on Tuesday, with long-term plans for Lakeside Mall to include new uses outside standard retail. 

Lakeside Mall was acquired by Out of the Box Ventures after General Growth Properties Inc. defaulted on their $144 million dollar mortgage loan. The mall is the largest in Michigan, with over 1.5 million square feet of retail space.

Out of the Box Ventures is a commercial real estate fund that is part of the fast-growing force of change currently sweeping the retail industry. The company plans to transform Lakeside’s retail space into mixed-use destinations, designed to revitalize surrounding areas and communities.

“We are excited about our plans to revitalize Lakeside Mall with a new wave of premium tenancy and community engaging activations,” said Ophir Sternberg, CEO and founding partner of Lionheart Capital.

"We share the city’s vision and look forward to significant collaboration with city officials and other stakeholders to ensure Lakeside Mall’s future is promising and a point of pride for the entire region," Sternberg said.

City leadership has been strategically planning the future of the Lakeside area, historically the city’s largest retail hub, for a number of years. Efforts have included formulating the Lakeside Sustainability Plan in 2015, administering a retail market study in 2016 and continuing sustained, targeted outreach to retailers and developers interested in the Lakeside area as brick-and-mortar retail malls continued to decline across the nation. In 2018, the City adopted the Lakeside Overlay District that allows for a mixture of uses at the Lakeside mall property–an incentive to re-imagine the 100-acre property.

“Our goal has always been to see Lakeside transform a traditional retail mall into a mixed-use space focused on walkability, placemaking and community,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. 

“I’m proud of the proactive work we’ve done to help position the Lakeside Mall area for continued success for many decades to come.”

Economic Development Advisor Luke Bonner at a public planning session for Lakeside Mall.

A redevelopment project of this magnitude could equate to hundreds of millions of dollars just for construction, according to Sterling Heights Senior Economic Development Advisor Luke Bonner. 

“But this project’s economic impact to the region could far exceed the construction value,” said Bonner.

“It’s imperative that we work toward preserving this critical tax base and increasing the job base of 1,000 currently supported by Lakeside Mall.”

Read more articles by Kate Roff.

Kate Roff is a freelance writer and editor, currently based out of Detroit. Contact her at kate@wanderoff.com.au
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