Southfield pitches Northland Mall for Amazon’s ‘HQ2’

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Correction: This story has been updated to say that the Macy's building will not be included in the demolition.

Southfield — City officials say they have submitted a bid proposing that America’s first regional shopping mall is the perfect home for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Southfield has proposed Northland Mall for Amazon’s new headquarters to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for review, noting ironically that “the first and largest shopping mall in America could be repurposed for the online shopping shift that closed its doors.”

The Oakland County community’s offer comes after Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan tapped Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert to lead a task force exploring a bid for Inc.’s “HQ2.” The neighboring Canadian city of Windsor has joined that effort.

The Seattle-based online sales announced earlier this month that it was soliciting bids from North American cities for a second headquarters that would provide an estimated $5 billion investment and up to 50,000 jobs with salaries averaging $100,000 a year.

In the proposal, Southfield would offer Northland’s former Macy’s building — just under 500,000 square feet — along with 125 acres of city-owned land.

“The vision for the master plan shows it would be great for loft-style” open spaces or offices, said Michael Manion, community relations director for the city of Southfield. “The third and fourth floors could even be used for parking.”

“It has all the characteristics they need and see that it has great potential; we believe more than anything else in the state of Michigan and arguably the country,” Manion said. “With such an iconic and historic building, (the Macy’s building) would make the perfect facility.”

The deadline for proposals is Oct. 19.

The Northland Center opened in 1954 featuring over 100 stores. Macy’s department store was the last to close in 2015.

Manion said the city has put aside $20 million to demolish the former mall site. The Macy’s building will not be included in the demolition because it has great potential for adaptive reuse, he said.

In the city’s pitch, Manion said the site is relatively close to Detroit Metro Airport and already has environmental assessments completed. Other large employers in the city are Lawrence Technological University and Oakland Community College.

“We’re actively working with Michigan Economic Development Corporation who will review it,” Manion said. “The shift of online shopping closed it, maybe they can re-open it.”

Staff Writer Candice Williams contributed.