In response to Amazon’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new second world headquarters (HQ2) the City of Southfield has been actively working with State of Michigan, Oakland County, Wayne County, the City of Detroit and other regional partners to prepare and present the State’s most attractive options to Amazon. While there are several prime sites and facilities throughout Michigan, the former 125-acre Northland Mall represents the State’s—and arguably the entire nation’s–best opportunity for HQ2 consideration.
The site was acquired by the City in 2015 for the sole purpose of redeveloping it. As such, Southfield has allocated $20 million to demolish the buildings and to address all environmental concerns. The city contracted consultants OHM Advisors to conduct a thorough technical analysis of the site, examination of the existing buildings/structures, an assessment of environmental factors, and market analysis. To date, environmental studies have been completed and the city is in the process of finishing the site remediation. Demolition is slated to begin in the 4th quarter of 2017 with a projected end date in the 4th quarter of 2018. The technical analysis also revealed that the former Macy’s building has great potential for adaptive reuse—presenting a very attractive and unique opportunity for one of Amazon’s HQ2 facilities.
Another unique feature of the former Northland site is a service tunnel which is located underground below the physical structure. This structure was formally used as a centralized shipping and receiving hub with over 380 rooms—large enough for semi-trucks and other logistical and transportation operations. We believe this asset would be suitable for optimal fiber connectivity, sustainability efforts and energy efficient uses.
The City of Southfield and the former Northland site meets or exceeds all HQ2 project parameters and requirements, including: a central location bounded by two major freeways (and close proximity to other major highways); Detroit Metro International Airport (less than 20 minutes away); world-renown higher educational institutions (Southfield is the proud home of Lawrence Technological University and a campus of Oakland Community College); major population center; and a stable/business friendly environment and local/state government.
An impressive 98 percent of the City of Southfield is accessible to high-speed fiber optics, broadband and satellite services, and several backbones traverse the community. The City’s extensive utility infrastructure, access to a footprint of citywide fiber optics and central location are just a few of the many reasons why businesses choose Southfield.
The City of Southfield is not only Michigan's premier business address, but also one of the metro area's most desirable residential communities. Southfield offers a complete living community, featuring a nationally recognized public school system, 10 colleges and universities, approximately 800 acres of park land and two beautiful public golf courses. Located in Oakland County with easy access to all metro area expressways, Southfield offers both a cosmopolitan, culturally-diverse residential population of more than 73,000 residents and a thriving international business community that boasts a daytime population of over 175,000. Residents and businesses alike come to Southfield for its central location, excellent city services and infrastructure, and easy access to all of southeastern Michigan.
When Northland Mall opened in 1954, it was the first and largest modern shopping mall in the world. At one time, it had more than 200 businesses and three anchor department stores. Northland led the way for Southfield to become a major commercial, business and residential center in metropolitan Detroit. As shopping trends changed over the years, the move to online spending led the way to Northland’s ultimate closure.
We invite Amazon to be the catalyst of the phoenix rising from the former Northland site—fully embracing the paradigm shift from the old retail model to the new online marketplace created and led by the undisputed world trailblazer in online retail. We strongly feel that the City of Southfield, and the footprint of the Northland site in particular, would make the ideal location for the new Amazon HQ2. Further, it is our estimation that this site and its iconic history would provide Amazon with an unparalleled PR opportunity—generating significant public/media interest, community goodwill and positive publicity.