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News & Events

City of Southfield wins Michigan Association of Planning’s 2018 Planning Excellence Award for Economic Development for Northland Mall Redevelopment

(From L-R) City Planner Terry Croad, Rhett Gronevelt, OHM Advisors, Council President Dan Brightwell, Mayor Ken Siver, City Administrator Fred Zorn, City Councilman Don Fracassi and James Houk, OHM Advisors

The city of Southfield won the 2018 Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) Planning Excellence Award for Economic Development Planning for the Northland Mall Redevelopment Strategy at their annual conference on Friday, September 21 in Grand Rapids.

Annually, MAP recognizes planning leaders and exemplary planning work by professionals and students. Recipients are selected by juries of out of state professional planners. The city of Southfield and consultants OHM Advisors received the 2018 Planning Excellence Award for Economic Development category for the Northland Mall Redevelopment Strategy. City Planner Terry Croad, AICP, was also recognized for 30 years of consecutive membership and service in the American Planning Association – New York and Michigan chapters.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the Michigan Association of Planning for the redevelopment strategy of the former Northland site,” commented Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver. “We are very excited about the progress taking place from the ongoing demolition to the strong interest numerous developers have expressed in the property. We are literally paving the way for redevelopment and we hope that this project can ultimately serve a model for other communities across the country. I applaud the efforts of the Northland Redevelopment Steering Committee, the Southfield Planning Department led by City Planner Terry Croad and our consultants OHM Advisors and HRC.”

It is estimated that by 2022, one in four malls in the United States may be out of business. The Northland Mall Redevelopment Strategy combined planning, architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, marketing and economic development into a placemaking strategy. More than 5,000 residents also shared their vision for the 125-acre property. When Northland Center opened in March 1954, it was the first and largest shopping mall in the world. Northland led the way for Southfield to become a major commercial, business and residential center in metropolitan Detroit.

The city of Southfield purchased the closed Northland Center mall at Eight Mile Road and the Lodge Freeway, located in the City’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) District, from the court-ordered receiver in October of 2015 for $2.4 million with plans to remediate, demolish and sell the property to qualified developers.

The Southfield City Council approved a master plan for the 114-acre redevelopment that is a conceptional, market driven blueprint that outlines the standards and vision for developers of the former mall property. Planning consultants OHM Advisors and HRC conducted a thorough technical analysis of the site, examination of the existing buildings/structures, an assessment of environmental factors, and a market analysis to determine the best possible development potential for the former mall. The resulting plan offers a dynamic mix of housing options, R&D, medical office, retail, entertainment and dining. The master plan is based on a series of development blocks/districts that collectively create a safe and vibrant mixed-use destination for southeast Michigan residents, businesses, and visitors. The Plan is intended to be highly flexible to adapt to market conditions. While adaptable, the development of the area will stay true to the vision of vibrancy, safety, inclusion, innovation, health and wellness, sustainability, and community. High quality architecture and public spaces are essentials to the long-term success of the project. Attention to detail and brand elements will continue to be a key focus of the redevelopment of the area with the goal of creating more than just another new development – Northland will be a place to call home.

The Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to promoting sound community planning that benefits the residents of Michigan. MAP was established in 1945 to achieve a desired quality of life through comprehensive community planning that includes opportunities for a variety of lifestyles and housing, employment, commercial activities, and cultural and recreational amenities. Today, MAP has a membership of nearly 4,000 with seventy percent of their members appointed to planning commissions and zoning boards of appeal throughout the state. Some 1,000 of their members are professional planners and professionals from ancillary fields such as architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, law, the private development community, students and others. The Michigan Association of Planning is, operationally and organizationally, the largest state chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), which is recognized internationally as the premier organization dedicated to urban and regional planning.

For more information about the Northland redevelopment, contact the Southfield Downtown Development Authority at (248) 796-5190 or visit

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018 (Archive on Monday, January 1, 0001)