Decades of old memories crumbled with thousands of pounds of rubble as demolition continued Monday at the closed Eastland Mall in Harper Woods.
Located on the south side of Vernier (Eight Mile Road) and Kelly Roads across from Eastpointe, the 81-acre site once held fond memories for many Macomb County residents who worked, shopped and socialized there.
A steady stream of passers-by briefly stopped in the parking lot of the nearby Lowe’s store to take cellphone photos of demotion crews tearing up the mall in its final days.
A St. Clair Shores woman thought there would have been more fanfare related to the mall closing act. She remembered the mall as a bustling place and a meeting place.
“Oh my god, I just have a flood of memories,” said the woman, who only identified herself as Colleen. “I grew up in east Detroit. I remember the day it opened and the big lion and mouse cement sculpture.
“And later my friends and I would walk to the mall. It’s a sad site. I will miss it. »
Yarnell Petterson had similar thoughts as he watched an excavator take a big bite out of one of the walls of the JL Hudson/Macy’s department store.
“My boys and I dressed and looked good for the ladies,” he said. “We would pass by the food court and try to get their attention, then we would go to one of the stores and look at the merchandise. It won’t be one of them around anymore.
Eastland, which has seen its roster of tenants dwindle over the years, was purchased by Kansas City-based NorthPoint Development LLC in 2021. It closed earlier this year.
Opened in 1957, the mall has seen a drop in sales in recent years due to a change in shoppers’ buying habits and an increase in violence both in the parking lots and in its closed sections.
The demolition process is expected to last all summer.
NorthPoint plans to clear the site to make way for a $94 million industrial distribution center and warehouses.
Nearly 600 jobs will be created by the development, analysts project.
According to state officials, industrial/warehouse space has become an in-demand market segment that will result in additional investment, increased worker traffic and tax revenue in the neighborhood, the city of Harper Woods and the Wayne County.
The redevelopment will entail the construction of three 1 million square foot commercial/light industrial buildings. It will include infrastructure upgrades including curb and gutter upgrades, sidewalk upgrades and road rehabilitation.