The future look and feel of Lakeside Mall may be radically different if the city of Sterling Heights has it’s way.
Over the past two years the city has been looking at ways to stay ahead of the game when it comes to shopping venues.
The Lakeside mall is doing well according to city manager Mark Vanderpool, but the reality is that across the country similar brick-and-mortar malls are being shutdown regularly. The property is expected to be sold eventually, so the city has been working with both the current owner and prospective developers to prepare a plan that would dramatically shift the look, and uses around the property.
In just the past month a new senior citizen center was approved, and the current mall owner gave up an easement so that the new building would extend to an existing lake. There’s also changes in the works for the existing city park nearby, which will include a walkway to the mall property.
Two different renderings show a sea of parking lots turned into shoppes, parks, walkways, restaurants. The mall itself would, if the plans held true, have walls knocked out with only the large “anchor stores” remaining while smaller shops and restaurants would be intermingled with residential areas and parking garages.
“We’re doing all we can to reposition Lakeside for future prosperity and that means re-imagining the mall and how it looks,” said Vanderpool. “The reality is unless malls are re-imagined for the future — the future doesn’t look promising.”
Vanderpool added that most mall owners are looking at a new open-space type of feel. As large companies like Sears and JC Penney’s has announced closures across the country larger brick-and-mortar malls have suffered. The most successful designs that are working across the country are open-air malls similar to Partridge Creek, a main competitor of Lakeside Mall as it sits just down the road.
“We can’t sit on the sidelines and hope and pray because we know what happens if we do nothing,” said Vanderpool.
The idea of transforming a mall into a more up-to-date mixed-use facility isn’t unheard of. It wasn’t long ago that Ford took over a section of Fairlane mall. Once upon a time, the idea of a motor company taking up residency inside an enclosed mall was far-fetched; now it’s more possible.
What’s next for Lakeside mall is still unknown, but if the city has it’s way it’ll be successful for many more years.