Downfall of a mall: Macy's closing at Northland Center

It was once a symbol of metro Detroit's power, might and money. 

But Northland Center mall is now one step closer to closing its doors for good. Macy's is now leaving. After more more than half a century here, the store will close in eight to 12 weeks. 

It is the final remaining anchor store, which was originally Hudson's when the mall opened. 

"This was a difficult decision to close stores that no longer meet our performance requirement," says Andrea Schwartz, vice president of Macy's media relations. "Our decision is based on consumer preferences and you know, it's the shoppers that drive the success and you know traffic patterns do change."

With a mostly empty parking lot Thursday night, it was hard to not notice it.

"When I was a little kid we used to come out to Northland," says Sharon Eatmon. "It was such a big treat but I guess because the economy and this, that and the other, things have changed so drastically that we have what we have now."

The mall has been in the news for plenty of the wrong reasons in recent years. Fights, shootings even death.

McKenzie Cochran died in the custody of mall security guards last January. 

"It's full of violence and hoodlums," says Francine Stephenson."People go up there it's full of robberies. It's just full of everything that it shouldn't be."

So how did one of America's oldest, grandest and once biggest malls fall so far from grace?

"Well you know you can't control ownership," says acting Mayor Donald Fracassi, a lifelong resident. 

FOX 2: "Was the beginning of the end 15 years ago when investors bought it?"

"Yeah, when they took over in that auction those people that bought it didn't really care," Fracassi says. "They're New York, they're investors they're looking at the bottom line." 

And Fracassi says Northland began to bottom out. It seemed that brawls and drama became common place.

Tenants packed up and left. Target put the mall on notice it was pulling out.

Northland has been in receivership since last September after defaulting on a $31 million loan.

Now Macy's, which employs nearly 200 people, will soon join a long list of big names that once called Northland home.

The mall referred all questions to the lawyer for its court-appointed receiver. He was not available to comment. 

Fracassi will get Northland's lawyers and the Downtown Development Authority on a conference call Friday in an effort to save the mall.

But its closure may be inevitable. Target will close its doors by February and Macy's will follow in a matter of weeks.
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