- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) - The city of Southfield has bought what was once one of the nation’s oldest shopping malls and is planning redevelopment for the 114-acre site just north of Detroit.

Southfield will spend $2.4 million on the closed Northland Center building and land. Up to $10 million more may be needed for demolition and clean up, the city said Wednesday.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts approved the sale Wednesday from a court-appointed receiver of the property.

The deal was made “to protect, maintain, and ultimately increase the property values for Southfield’s home and business owners,” Mayor Donald Fracassi said in a release. “We bought it because we did not want Northland Center to become a vacant shopping center significantly blighting the community. The Northland name is synonymous with Southfield and it’s important that we find the finest development possible for this site.”

Other offers were made for the property, said receiver Frank Simon, who owns Simon PLC Attorneys & Counselors.

“The city of Southfield was not only the best offer, but also the best fit for the future of the mall property,” Simon said.

Potts ruled in February that Simon could begin closing the center, only about 70 tenants remained.

Once cleared and remediated, the city will look for a developer “who will build a new, revitalized mixed-use development containing office, retail and residential space on the site,”Fracassi said.

“By owning the center, we can ensure that it is purchased by a company that has the financial resources to develop the site to its full potential.”

City taxes will not go up to fund demolition and cleanup, according to the city. Funds set aside for redevelopment and capital projects will be used for the work. Southfield also will seek grant to underwrite some or all of the costs, City Administrator Fred Zorn said.

Demolition and cleanup could take a year to complete.

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