Judge: Northland Mall to close after more than 60 years

Northland Center opened in March 1954. 60 years later, a judge has ordered the shopping mall to close this year.
It was one of the nation's first suburban malls but in January, Macy's announced it would close its location and Target soon followed suit. With the anchor stores leaving the center, the former symbol of Metro Detroit's power will soon be no more.

Macy's announced it was closing in January after more 50 years at the store. It's expected to close sometime in the next few months and with the judge's ruling on Wednesday, the rest of the mall will follow suit.

Circuit Judge Wendy Potts announced the closure and said tenants would receive a 30 day notice to get out. She said it was an unprecedented move to have to evict so many people, many of whom are current on rent, but she did not feel she had a choice.

"Even if all tenants were current on rent, the income would still fall short of the minimum operating costs," Potts said. "Neither the the mall's owner nor the mortgage holder, are offering to indefinitely cover the operating and maintenance costs to keep the mall functional. The receiver would have to incur additional debt to maintain it which is not feasible given the enormous debt load. No one has come forward with a reasonable plan for maintaining the mall."

Irene Hardwick Green has owned Top of the Line Styles for 17 years inside the mall. She was in court when Potts read her ruling and was stunned.

"I thought something could be worked out but obviously it couldn't," she said. "I'm not worried about myself, i'm worried about my employees. All the employees at Northland. What will they do?"

Green asked the attorney about appealing the ruling and was told there would not be one but they may be allowed an extra couple of weeks in the mall. 

Potts said in court that only 55% of the mall is occupied. She noted that they toured the building and saw that it was dilapidated and the heating and cooling system was not working properly. She said there was no way to turn the mall around and closing it was the right thing to do.

There is no mention of what the building or land will be used for but there is speculation that there are some buyers who are interested in the property. No one has come forward.

This is a breaking news event. Refresh this story for updates.

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