SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - It used to be America's largest shopping center - now Northland mall is just an empty shell surrounded by dirt and rubble.
Northland Center has its place in history as the first mall in America.
But the mall is long closed and the 120-acre property belongs to the city of Southfield.
The Mayor Ken Siver wants to make sure whatever takes its place makes sense for the city and makes dollars as well. So for the past year they've been searching for a perfect fit. The vision - repurposing the historic components already onsite like the old Hudson's department store.
"You could turn that into loft apartments the floors are all 19 to 20 feet ceilings," Siver said.
And making room by means of demolition for other needs.
"You can do over 1000 housing units there," Siver said. "Providence Hospital is out of medical offices and parking, they need housing."
Meanwhile the former mall property is costing the city around $6 million. Money it hopes to recoup once the new plans come to life. In the meantime this land isn't going to waste. It's just storing it..
"Stockpiling clean dirt for free and storing it on site because we have the space," Siver said.
All the while finding ways to offset some of the recurring costs.
"We have lights on, sump pump, security, so we leased the parking lot to Autolift for autonomous vehicle testing," he said.
Southfield Mayor Ken Siver says the council is ready to move forward with these plans that will hopefully recoup the $6 million or so the city has into the investment.
"Nothing is going to happen there this year except asbestos removal and demo but we are moving ahead," he said.
You can see detailed vision of the plan on imagine northland dot com or find a link on the Dave Spencer FOX 2 Facebook page.