Northland Center

Northland Center
Northland Center
Location Southfield, Michigan, USA
Opening date 1954
Developer J.L. Hudson Company
Management Jones Lang LaSalle
No. of stores and services 110
Total retail floor area 1,400,000 sq ft (130,000 m2)
No. of floors 1 plus partial basement, 2 in open anchor, 4 in Macy's

Northland Center is a shopping mall located at the intersection of Northwestern Highway and Greenfield Road in Southfield, an inner-ring suburb of Detroit, Michigan, United States. Construction began in 1952 and the mall opened on March 22, 1954. The mall's anchor department stores are Macy's and Target.

Northland was a milestone for regional shopping centers in the postwar United States. Designed by Victor Gruen, the mall initially included a four-level Hudson's with a ring of stores surrounding it. In the 1960's it was joined by a modernistic cinema with a Cinerama screen. The mall was enclosed in the 1970s and expanded several times in its history. Managed by Jones Lang LaSalle since 2008, Northland Center features approximately 100 stores, the two major anchors are Macy's and Target, with three additional anchor spots available.[1][2]



The historic J. L. Hudson Company, a major upscale Detroit based department store chain, built Northland Center. Hudson's went on to become the second largest department store (next to Macy's of New York City) in the United States. In 1948, architect Victor Gruen convinced Hudson's, then reluctant to build branch stores, to take advantage of suburban growth by constructing a ring of three shopping centers surrounding the city of Detroit. Of the others – Eastland Center, Southland Center, and Westland Center – Northland was the first to be built. These malls encircle Detroit's inner-ring of suburbs. At the time, Northland Center was the world's largest shopping center.[3]

Northland Center became the first major postwar development in suburban Detroit and was the first of many forays into the suburbs by Hudson's. Some $30,000,000 was invested in constructing the facility. The first-year gross for the Northland Hudson's was $88,000,000.[4]

Hudson's created new synergy through a merger with Dayton's of Minneapolis to form the Dayton–Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation), re-branded as Marshall Field's in 2001. May Department Stores acquired Marshall Fields. Following a merger with May Department Stores, Federated renamed the stores Macy's on September 9, 2006.

Designed by Victor Gruen, the shopping center opened to much fanfare. Articles about the center appeared in national media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Time, Look, Life, Ladies Home Journal and Newsweek. Reviwers had heralded the Northland as the future of shopping in post-war America. Besides Hudson's, Northland opened with a number of other local retailers including: Hughes & Hatcher, Barna-Bee Children's Shops, Cunningham's Drugs, Baker's Shoes, Chandler's Shoes, Big Boy restaurant, Himelhoch's, Winkelman's, Kresge, Robinson Furniture, Better Made Potato Chips, Kroger, and Sanders and a supermarket in the two-million-square-foot center. Northland featured auditoriums, a bank, post office, infirmary, sculptures, fountains, an office for lost children, lavish landscaping, and free gasoline for customers who had run out.

Gruen would later grow disenchanted with the malls he helped start with Northland. The architect, who also designed suburban Detroit's Eastland Center, Chicago's Randhurst and South Jersey's Cherry Hill Mall, pronounced himself disillusioned with the ugliness and fast-buck approach of many projects. "I refuse to pay alimony for those bastard developments", he told Time magazine.[5]

Northland Center was enclosed as a mall in 1974,[6] the same year that JCPenney and Montgomery Ward were added. Later additions included Federated's short-lived MainStreet chain (later Kohl's), as well as T.J. Maxx, and Target. In 1991, a food court was added.[6]

Construction of other malls in the metro area present remodeling challenges and redevelopment opportunities for the metro area's inner-ring suburban malls including Northland. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Northland had a turnover of major tenants. Kohl's closed its operations in 1994 at the mall; Target built its store on the building's west end and opened in 1996. Montgomery Wards shuttered due to the chain's financial troubles in 1998; JCPenney left two years later. T.J. Maxx closed in 2004. National Wholesale Liquidators opened in 2005 in Wards' former building, and closed three years later. In 2007, Target completed a renovation of its interior and exterior, as well as an expansion to accommodate a pharmacy, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut.


Northland's operations include two anchor department stores. In addition, the mall features over 100 retailers, a food court and a small outdoor court. The mall's anchor stores are Macy's and Target. Three other potential anchor locations are available.

Northland Center was sold on December 18, 2008 to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., with Jones Lang LaSalle (which also owns Eastland Center in Harper Woods).[7]

See also


External links

Coordinates: 42°27′4.2″N 83°12′16.8″W / 42.451167°N 83.204667°W / 42.451167; -83.204667

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