Sterling Heights City Council approves grant transfer to help mall redevelop

City confirms Lakeside plans lag behind schedule

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 19, 2024

 City officials say Lakeside’s ownership has faced a challenge in trying to acquire the vacant Sears and Lord & Taylor properties, which has held up progress toward redeveloping the Lakeside area into a mixed-use town center.

City officials say Lakeside’s ownership has faced a challenge in trying to acquire the vacant Sears and Lord & Taylor properties, which has held up progress toward redeveloping the Lakeside area into a mixed-use town center.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


STERLING HEIGHTS — In a split 4-3 vote, the Sterling Heights City Council approved deals April 2 that will transfer received grant money to Lakeside Mall’s ownership to resolve real estate negotiations needed to get the Lakeside area’s redevelopment process moving forward.

The council action approved an agreement with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and a subagreement with Lakeside Out of the Box Ventures LLC — Lakeside’s ownership — so that Lakeside can use a $3 million grant toward acquiring property on the site. City officials said the property acquisition is essential to the mall area’s redevelopment.

When the final vote came, Mayor Michael Taylor, Mayor Pro Tem Liz Sierawski, and councilwomen Barbara Ziarko and Maria Schmidt voted yes. Councilwoman Deanna Koski and councilmen Michael Radtke and Henry Yanez voted no.

Sterling Heights officials have long wanted to see Lakeside Mall redeveloped, due in part to the mall’s decline amid changes in shopping trends. In November 2022, the City Council heard the mall ownership’s plans to demolish the main mall complex and at least some of the department stores in order to create mixed-use neighborhoods with apartments, retail shops, green space, a community center, a hotel and more on an estimated 110 acres.

But during the April 2, 2024, meeting, Sterling Heights Economic Development Adviser Luke Bonner explained that Lakeside’s ownership has reached a roadblock.

According to him, the mall ownership must have control of and have support from all of the real estate on the site before it can submit a planned unit development application and apply for certain state incentives.

Currently, Lakeside’s ownership doesn’t own the vacant Sears and Lord & Taylor properties, and those properties’ owners have reportedly been engaged in unique and prolonged acquisition negotiations, Bonner said.

Bonner said the city asked state Rep. Nate Shannon, D-Sterling Heights, for help to get grant money to create a breakthrough in the acquisition process for Sears and Lord & Taylor. He said Shannon helped secure a $3 million MEDC economic development grant that was narrowly tailored and limited to redeveloping a shopping center in a city of Sterling Heights’ size.

Bonner said he thinks the grant money will be key to progress.

“This $3 million is going to be used to put deposits down on two parcels to allow Lakeside to go through our PUD process and go through the incentive application process to get everything settled and adopted and approved so that they can move forward with closing on those properties and then eventually moving forward with the redevelopment of Lakeside,” he said.

Bonner added that the $3 million is not enough to actually buy those two properties, which he estimated could cost around $20 million. He emphasized that the city is not buying these properties and that the agreement is “essentially transferring risk of property acquisition to Lakeside.”

During public comment, resident Paul Smith criticized the grant transfer proposal and characterized it as “gambling the people’s money on a losing deal.”

Radtke said he opposed the plan, not because he opposes the Lakeside project or thinks it’s a “bad bet,” but because he wishes that the $3 million could’ve been used toward trees, roads or other needs, instead of transferring the funds “to a private corporation.” He also said the city shouldn’t have asked Shannon for the $3 million and should’ve sought it through another method.

“In my opinion, there are so many more needs that are higher priority than giving Lakeside more money,” Radtke said.

Radtke said he was frustrated by Lakeside’s ownership and the delay over having the PUD ready. Bonner confirmed that the redevelopment plan is about a year behind schedule, but he said the city has been frequently talking to Lakeside and credits them for “keeping the nose to the grindstone and continuing to push forward.” Bonner said he believes they will be ready, “conservatively, in the next 60-90 days” to submit the PUD application.

Schmidt said the timeline had been ambitious and that it’s understandable for it to be a year behind. Taylor said he is also frustrated and wishes that the process could’ve moved more quickly. But he said these kinds of business deals are complex, and, “We’re going to get through it.”

Taylor added that while $3 million is big money, he strongly supports Lakeside as a long-term, transformational investment and has “very little doubt” it’ll eventually bear fruit for residents and taxpayers.

“This is going to create a lot of revenue,” Taylor said. “Now the TIF (tax increment financing) is going to take some time to be paid off, but once it is, it’s going to generate millions and millions and millions of dollars in annual revenue to the city of Sterling Heights.” 

During the same meeting, the council voted unanimously via the consent agenda to accept consulting firm Plante Moran Realpoint’s $162,000 proposal to do consulting, financial review and analysis for the mall redevelopment project.

A representative for Lakeside Out of the Box Ventures LLC could not be reached for comment by press time.

Find out more about Lakeside Mall, 14000 Lakeside Circle in Sterling Heights, by visiting To learn about Sterling Heights, visit Learn more about Lakeside Out of the Box Ventures by visiting