Lakeside plans to proceed under new owners

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 20, 2019

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Just in time for the holidays, Lakeside Mall recently became the gift of opportunity for a new owner.

The city of Sterling Heights announced Dec. 18 that Florida-based Lionheart Capital subsidiary Out of the Box Ventures has acquired Lakeside Mall’s property. The acquisition, which reportedly cost $26.5 million, follows General Growth Properties Inc.’s default on a $144 million mortgage loan, city officials said.

Officials said the facility currently sits on 100 acres and houses retail space in excess of 1.5 million square feet. However, retail analysts say online shopping has increasingly overshadowed the popularity of brick-and-mortar stores. Anchor stores Sears and Lord & Taylor have closed at Lakeside in recent years.

City officials have been mulling the mall’s future for the past five years, starting with a 2015 Lakeside Sustainability Plan and following that up with a retail market study the following year. 

Officials have voiced a strategy to transition the land toward mixed uses — including residential, office and entertainment — as well as making the area walkable. In 2019, the City Council voted to formalize a Lakeside Overlay District, thus easing the steps to realize that vision.

In a statement, Sterling Heights Senior Economic Development Adviser Luke Bonner estimated the construction costs of Lakeside’s redevelopment to eventually amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

“But this project’s economic impact to the region could far exceed the construction value,” Bonner said. “It’s imperative that we work toward preserving this critical tax base and increasing the job base of 1,000 currently supported by Lakeside Mall.”

Lionheart Capital CEO and Founding Partner Ophir Sternberg offered hopes for revitalization and “a new wave of premium tenancy” in a statement. 

“One of the defining factors in our decision to close on this asset is the city’s progressive development culture,” Sternberg said. 

“We share the city’s vision for the future of this property and look forward to significant collaboration with city officials and the community to ensure Lakeside Mall’s future is promising and a point of pride for the entire region. We have a strong track record for success and expect nothing less for this exciting endeavor.”

The Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce could not be reached for comment about the Lakeside acquisition.

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489. Learn about Out of the Box Ventures by visiting ootbventures.com. To reach Lakeside Mall, visit www.shop-lakesidemall.com.

Call Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at (586) 498-1058.

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