Eastland Center site marketed for industrial tenants as demolition proceeds

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

As demolition of the former Eastland Center shopping mall proceeds, developers of a $94 million project to reuse the property in Harper Woods have named a leasing agent to market the 80-acre site for potential tenants.

Signature Associates said Thursday it will exclusively lease space for the development, known as the Eastland Commerce Center, at 18000 Vernier.

Demolition of the mall began Feb. 28, according to Signature Associates. The site’s three new commercial light industrial buildings are scheduled for completion in early 2023.

Piles of rubble surround a demolished section of the former Eastland Mall in Harper Woods on Thursday, March 17, 2022.
Piles of rubble surround a demolished section of the former Eastland Mall in Harper Woods on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

The warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing campus will have three buildings ranging from 200,000 square feet to 536,000 square feet and total about 1.03 million square feet. Missouri-based NorthPoint Development is the landlord and developer.

“We are excited to partner with Signature Associates on this development,” Brent Miles, chief marketing officer at NorthPoint Development, said in a statement Thursday. “We are grateful for the opportunity to invest in this community and help bring more than eight-hundred new direct and indirect jobs to strengthen the short- and long-term economy.”

Eastland Center, which opened in 1957, closed its doors in early January after being long plagued by declining tenancy, fewer shoppers and safety concerns.

The new development is expected to create 550 full-time equivalent jobs.

“The site had been struggling for quite some time and we are excited to bring new development and jobs to the area,” said Joe Hamway, vice president and principal of Signature Associates.

Construction at the former mall site comes as Metro Detroit sees strong demand for industrial land. Earlier this year, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. noted the limited supply of Class A industrial space in Detroit and surrounding areas. It said the site’s proximity to automotive manufacturers would make the campus attractive for tenants who are in or support the automotive industry.

This rendering depicts the Eastland Commerce Center planned for the site of the former Eastland Center shopping mall.

In January, the MEDC’s Michigan Strategic Fund board approved $4.7 million in brownfield tax credits for the development. In October, the Harper Woods City Council granted the project property tax abatements, a Brownfield Plan and Commercial Facilities Exemption Certificate to offset costs for demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, and construction.

According to city records, NorthPoint Development, under the entity NP Eastland Commerce Center Industrial LLC, closed on a $9.5 million purchase of the multiple-parcel site in September from New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group, which purchased the mall in 2018. NP Eastland also bought the former Target store there from Target Corp. for $1 million in September.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN