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December 24, 2008

Sale of Northland Center finalized

By Jennie Miller
C & G Staff Writer

SOUTHFIELD — The much anticipated sale of Northland Center to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. was finalized Dec. 18.

“We’ve been working with both the seller and buyer for a while, and we were aware it was headed for a closing,” said Frank Brock, executive director of the Southfield Cornerstone Development Authority and mayor of Lathrup Village. “We think this is a positive development.”

Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., which is based in New York, owns and operates 13 million square feet of retail, office and residential space throughout the United States and Canada, including Eastland Center in Harper Woods.

“Their track record is a good one of buying properties they consider to be good properties, and investing in them and improving them,” Brock said. “Eastland seems very positive.”

Since it acquired Eastland in 2006, Ashkenazy has invested millions of dollars in improvements — including exterior paint, a children’s play area, additional outparcels, a new multi-tenant building and new entrances — attracted Burlington Coat Factory as an anchor store and helped Target expand by 13,000 square feet, according to Pam Lightbody, Eastland’s marketing manager.

“They have a very strong track record with national retailers, and hopefully that will bode well for the future of Northland Center,” Brock said.

Jones Lang LaSalle, the retail management company that currently operates Eastland on behalf of Ashkenazy, has been tapped to also manage operations at Northland. Additionally, Brent Reetz, Eastland’s the general manager, will serve in the same capacity at Northland.

“Northland has a rich history and is well-positioned to be a jewel in the vibrant city of Southfield,” Reetz said in a statement. “It already has some terrific retailers in a densely populated area. When combined with the leadership and vision from AAC, Northland Center can remain one of the region’s most vital shopping destinations.”

The future of Northland is critical to the city of Southfield. With a new Master Plan in place for the Cornerstone Development Authority district in Southfield, local planners are ready for improvements to take shape as soon as possible.

“There’s probably not one single parcel more important to the district than Northland Center,” Brock said. “We’re anxious to sit down with them and brainstorm to do something positive for the district — for them and for the city.”

Built in 1954, Northland served as a model for many of the country’s first large-scale shopping malls.

The approximately 2-million-square-foot space at the intersection of Northwestern Highway, Greenfield Road and Eight Mile Road is currently home to 127 stores surrounding three of five potential anchors: Macy’s, National Wholesale Liquidators and Target. Northland contains Michigan’s largest Macy’s department store, with 511,509 square feet on four levels.

The facility’s previous owner, Jager Management Inc., based in Jenkintown, Penn., put the mall up for sale last February through Marcus & Millichap with an undisclosed asking price. The final dollar amount paid by Ashkenazy for the property was not disclosed.






You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jennie Miller at jmiller@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1108.