Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New life for LPSC?

My sources tell me that Walmart has abandoned their plans to build a store in LPSC and the center has been sold. The new managemant plans to to renovate and remarket the center with agressive advertising and annoucing that the spaces are available for lease once again. To me this is great news. A Walmart is not needed (or wanted IMO) considering that they have a brand new Supercenter just a few miles north in Dearborn.

I hope that the management team is successful at revitalizing LPSC. It really has a lot of value and I would hate to see its potential go to waste andy longer.

Next up:
Fairlane Town Center : Bucking the Trends

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sorry that I haven't updated in so long. I have just been really busy with my own life a lot of my hobbies and things like that took a back seat. Its getting cold in Michigan by now anyway, so its prolly going to be pretty hard for me to take any pictures of my explorations. There are still quite a few malls and shopping centers that I can put on here that I know of, though. Thankfully for the state of MIchigan, I haven't noticed any new significant closinging around here...well, other than Circuit City planning to close 150 stores nationwide soon. I can imagine more than a few of those being in that more empty hulks to plague our landscape. If you ask me with that state of things as far as these gigantic empty stores, they should all be torn down and turned into parks or something like that.

Take for instance all these empty Home Quarters buildings...nones ever going to buy or lease such large buildings, so they are just going to let them sit there all the while paying leases, utilities and property taxes? I don't pretend to know much about real estate so correct me if I'm wrong, but that just doesn't make sense to me. Metro Detroit is one of the most retail saturated merto areas that I know of as it is...we have way more choice than we need in some areas.

Another example:
Dearborn has a Best buy, a Target, and a Home Depot all adjacent to Ford Rd. and Southfield Fwy. If you hop on Southfeild and head maybe 2 miles south you will find the Fairlane Green shopping center Which also has ALL THREE OF THE SAME STORES plus lots more. Its wasteful and it worries me somewhat. Dearborn is right next to Detroit and I know that scares retail away more often than not. I think its planning ahead, but fro the worst. I see it this way; if the fourtunes of Detroit go down any further than it will beigin to infect the surrounding suburbs wich may force retailers to close stores like those in Dearborn and because of FG, the wont have to build a new store nearby to fill the void.

I'm trying to have a more optimistic view of the future these days though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Livonia Mall closed has a whole thread devoted to the fact that Livonia mall has finally closed. The thread states that The only stores till open are the sears and the Jo-ann Fabrics.
I knew it was comming soon; especially after the closing of VCDS. There are plans to redevelop it into as mixed use retail/residental complex. Its about time, just like Universal mall. Livonia Mall was just so ugly and dated looking, it brought down the entire area.

You can view the entire thread here:

Mailbag: Universal Mall

PurpleBubba said...
"They started demolition on the mall. It's being turned into a lifestyle center and Target is moving here and leaving the store they have a few blocks south."

I read this in the Detroit News almost the same day Purble Bubba posted it. It was about time if you ask me. If a center is failing as bad as Universal was, you need to do something about it. I dunno how a Lifestyle center is going to do, but I do hope it is a success. Considering the poor state of the economy here, I'm not a cynical as I once was about lifestyle centers. I hate cold weather and because I think that other ppl feel the same way I do. lol

Anyway, I never had a chance to write about this mall here, but if you would like some backround, you can check out the commentary that I helped write on

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Taylor: Telegraph and Goddard

Sorry for my absence lately, I have been doing a lot that is not related to this. lol. I will try to get back on track in the next few weeks and have a lot more to share with you.
Anyway, this lil nugget is in Taylor on Telegraph and Goddard. At one time it was anchored by a K-Mart and Cattleman's at one end and a Med/Max (medical supplies and pharmacy) at the other. We all know what happened to K-Mart in the mid to late 90's, and this was of course one of the stores that they closed. It remained closed and for sale for something like 7 years until they tore it down and built a home depot. It was a lil late as all but 2 of the strip stores closed as well as the Med/Max.

The Home Depot Opened late 2006 I beleive and the empty Med/Max was renovated and became a new Dunhams. It has done little for the stip stores as all but the same 2 I mentioned eariler are still vacant. The 2 Stores that are still are a nail salon and some other business that I couldnt quite figure out and didn't have the courage to go up to to see what it was. There was also label scar from and Fantastic Sams and a Harmony House. The Cattlemans has stayed open, but the parking in front of it is virtually empty all the time. No one shops at butcher shops anymore anyway, people would much rather get all their grocery shopping done all in one location these days.

The center itself is in really nice shape and is very well maintained unlike the Lincoln Park Shopping Center. However, with Michigans economy the way it is; it matters very little.

To the Left, you can see the labek scar from the Fantastic Sams followed by the Nail Salon (Nails USA).

Empty, empty, empty

The other business that I mentioned, along with more empty spaces.

The empty lot in front of Cattlemans.
The Home Depot seems to do pretty well, but ....well....yeah...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Curse of Dix/Toledo Rd.

Dix Rd actually goes by many names as it makes its way from southwest Detroit to Woodhaven, Michigan. In detroit proper, Vernor HWY turns into Dix as it travels south through Lincoln Park and Melvindale. It eventualy turns into Toledo Rd in Southgate (The city in which this bolgs strip mall is in) and then finally merges into Telegraph Rd in Woodhaven where it dissappears all together.
One thing is for certian in my travels and thats Dix sucks for businesses. Dix has a mix of national chain retail, really run down mom and pop-businesses, and then you have nearly empty strip malls like the Lincoln Park Shopping center. In this case though, despite what the sign above may read. This power center strip mall is completely empty. Yep. Completely.

This Huge Strip at the corner or Eureka and Dix/Toledo once housed many thriving buinesses such as a Best Buy, Lone Star Steakhouse, a Home Quarters (think Home Depot or Lowes), and many other smaller stores. The nail in the coffin came early for this center as Home Quarters (the entire company) went out of business it seems like right after they opened. They closed all the stores that the opened and left huge empty hulks all over the Detroit area. This occured more than 10 years ago and some buildings like this one are still empty. The smaller stores began to wither soon after. The next major blow happend when Lone Star closed most of their locations in Michgan a few years back. This one was of course one of the ones that closed. The most recent tenant to vacate was the Best Buy (pictured above). The store went to greener pastures in the nearby Southland Mall in Taylor in 2006 where a new state-of-the art store replaced the malls food court (lol). By then there were only one of two small strip stores opened and those have since closed as well.

Now, as it sits today, a monument to corporate mismanagement and the hard times that the Detroit area finds itself in.

Empty, empty, empty.

Ohhhh, wait....a diamond broker?...ohh nevermind, they forgot to take the sign down I guess.

You can see the vastness of thins empty center pictured here. The now empty Lone Star Sits in the Middle.

Don't get your hopes up, they just left their sign up, too.
Below are pictures of the massive derelict HQ. Its one of biggest I have seen as it took me three pics to fit it in.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Value City Department Store closing all Mall locations

This is probably not new news to most of you, but VCDS has decided to close all their mall locations. I was flipping through the Detroit News today and saw a full page advertisement that said that 3 Metro Detroit Locations only have 8 days left and that all items are up to 60 percent off. Two of the locations are obvious, the stores at Livonia Mall and Universal mall. The 3rd location was Macomb mall in Roseville. Universal mall is as I already mentioned closing and will be torn down to build the newest fad in retail shopping; a lifestyle center. Livonia mall still has no plans to close that I am aware of, but I'm positive that this won't help matters. Macomb Mall does fairly well considering its age and proximity to Oakland and Lakeside and Eastland malls. I doubt this closure will hurt macomb much. I can totally see a Burlington Coat Factory and Steve and Barry's filling the vacant space.

VCDS has no plans to close any of their stand alone or strip mall store ( I only know of one, anyway) so thats good I suppose. I have been in several VCs and did not care form them much. It felt very generic and just blah. Nevertheless, it is another blow to the hurting retail landscape in Michigan; definately not what we need.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The "Dead Zone"; Dearborn Michigan

There are several such "dead zones" that I know of in the area, but this one is my favorite. I don't know if there is a name for this strip mall, but its at the corner of Telegraph Road and Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. This area is kind of strange in the way that you have both very wealthy and very poor communities right next to each other. It sits to the south of the Gully/Cherry Hill corridor, which is where the richy-rich of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights live. Then travel 5 minutes to the west in you are in Inkster, one the poorest of the Detroit suburbs. This shoppin center is also isolated from Telegraph, as Michigan Ave is bridged over it. At its peak, the dead zone had a Wendy's, a Showcase Cinema (formerly the Dearborn Theater), Big Boy, IHOP, Chuckie Cheese, DTE energy customer service center, a Dental office, Kids Spot, Toys R Us, Pep Boys, and a Caddie Dealership. I site this centers demise for the following reasons:
1. Its Isolation from busy Telegraph RD.
2. The changing demographics of the area
3. The condition of the center
4. Its proximity to the stuggling city of Inkster.

The strip mall part of the center is pretty unexciting looking, with a dull exterior and a tore up parking lot. The 1st businesses to leave was the Pep Boys or the IHOP in the late 90's. The Pep Boy's remains vacant to this day, and the building itself is really falling apart. The old IHOP was torn down and replaced with a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins. Something odd about this is that IHOP just opened a new location a mile north of where the old one was! The new location is on Ford Road and is a big success from what I hear. I drive by it everyday and the parking lot is always packed! Anyway, it was all downhill from there for the dead zone. The Showcase Cinema folded soon after cause of the new Star at Fairlane Town Center. It now sits boarded up and for sale. The Caddie Dealership moved their operation to a new, bigger showroom and lot in downtown west Dearborn (at least they tore the vacant building down). The DTE customer service center, another store, and most recently, the Wendys are also closed now. I visited the center earlier today and the parking lot was pretty empty. It looks like the remaining businesses aren't doing that well save the Big Boy. I wonder how bad it will get before the owners decide to invest some money in it. Its still a prime location and would do well if they would remodel and add a mix of stores that fit the area's clientele. Although, its isolation from Telegraph does not help. Inkster could do a lot to improve their situation as well. I will let you know if I find out anything about any changes to the dead zone or planned improvements.

From Telgraph RD going west:

Former Wendys

Former Showcase Cinema

Big Boy, the strongest business in the center.

Dunkin Donuts

The strip mall; Chuckie Cheese, Dentist, former DTE CSC, Kids Spot, Unidentified Vacant Space, and Toys R Us.

Former Pep Boys; Label Scar and all.

At least Caddie had enough sense to tear down their vacant building.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Update on Universal Mall; Warren Michigan

I met an employee from Universal a few days ago that told me that "they" (city or mall management?) are planning to invest a considerable amount of money ( I can't remember the exact amount) into tearing down the existing mall and building Warrens' first lifestyle center. He also told that AJ Wright and the movie theather plan to stay, but no word on Burlington Coat Factory. The employee added that he hopes the movie theater does leave because it has become a babysitting service for children and teens whose parents drop them off there. He seemed pretty excited about it, but I can hardly be. Lifestyle centers just dont work with michigans weather pattens and it being cold half the year. Why do you think that they enclosed both Wonderland Mall and Northland after a while?

I know that I haven't posted a blog on the dead Universal Mall yet, but I plan to in the future. I just thought I would share this lil bit of info with you before I forgot it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lincoln Park Shopping Center; Lincoln Park Michigan

20 years ago, Lincoln Park was a prosperous suburb just south of Detroit proper. Things have changed however, as people move to the newer southern Detroit burbs, such as Brownstown and Carleton. Being directly south of one of Detroits most poor neighboorhoods doesn't help matters much. Crime has spread into LP as a result and it shows through at the Lincoln Park Shopping Center.

At the busy corner of Southfeild Rd and Dix, LPSC was a prime location for such a center when it was built. LPSC is anchored by a Sears and at one time an F&M drug store and a Old Navy. 25 Smaller spaces rounded out the rest of the center. In its prime, all the spaces were of course leased. Today, things aren't so grand. F&M went out of business in the mid 90's leaving all of their locations vacant, including the one in LPSC. The Closing of F&M wasn't the nail in the coffin, however. The Star movie theater then closed in the late 90's due to the remodeled Southgate Cinema and the new Star 21 screen megaplex in Fairlane Town Center. Harmony House also went out of business and by this time, LPSC was heading into a state of disrepair with peeling paint, falling plaster, and half painted over graffitti.

The real nail in the coffin was really the opening of the Fairlane Green shopping center in nearby Allen Park where Old Navy, Dunhams, and Dress Barn relocated. A lot of the remaining customer base followed. LPSC continued to be poorly maintained and dirty. Then it was announced that most of LPSC would be sold and torn down to build a new Walmart Supercenter but even before these developments, it seems as though LPSC was just given up on. President tux, Complete rehab, KB Toyworks, Hallmark, and many of the other smaller stores closed from low sales and/or fearing the Walmart would steal what little sales they still had. Most of the remaining stores are planning to weather the storm and attempt to coexist with the Walmart when it is opened. The Walmart won't be even started for a year and a half though; and LPSC quite frankly, looks like shit lol. It would be nice if something was done to spruce it up, but that probably won't happen.

Former Old Navy

Former Dress Barn

Most of these stores are staying

Broken window

I have noticed that its a PITA to post photos on the actual page, so I have been forced to add a link to my photobucket. Perhaps someone can help me with posting photos?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Livonia Mall; Livonia Michigan

Livonia is a suburb approx. 20 miles to the west of Detroit. While it may be an older detroit suburb, it still thrives which is kind of unique considering the condition of Livonia Mall. Its not really the fault of a struggling city, but more of the density of the surronding area that caused this mall to die. In the 60's and 70's the western detroit suburbs boomed with growth while the retail sector tried to keep up. To meet the demand of the growing area, 3 malls were constructed withing a very short distance of each other. Livonia was the 1st, then Wonderland (also in livonia) and finally Westland Mall (in Westland) in 1965. Livonia mall sits on the corner of 7 Mile rd and Middlebelt rd, Wonderland was on the Plymouth rd and Middlebelt, and Westland Warren Ave and Wayne rd. . I did the math and all of these malls were only an average of 5 miles from each other! Thats a lot of malls in a small area! In 1989 they made things worse by adding Laurel Park Place mall on 6 Mile rd close to I-275. LPP is a very upscale mall and that, combined with several other factors spelled doom from Livonia mall.

Livonia mall opened in 1962 and most of the decor hasn't changed much from then, especially the exterior.

Sometime in the 80's a wing with a Mervyn's was added and some of the decor was updated with the typical pastel colors, recessed lighting, and fake plants of the era. This makes the mall look strange and nothing flows together as it should. The 1960's exterior was nice back then, but today after years of neglect it just looks drab and dingy. Not doing much to upgrade the looks combined with the previously mentioned hurt the mall. When in its prime, the mall had 5 anchors: Kresge, Sears, Crowleys, Children's Palace, and Mervyns. Kresge closed in the late 80's and the space I assume was subdivided into smaller stores to add to the malls mix. I'm not sure when the Children's Palace closed, but it was vacant until the late 90's when a paint ball fortress began leasing the space. Crowley's became a Value City in the late 90's and Mervyns closed all of their Michigan locations in 2006, leaving the mall with 2 out of the 4 anchors currently occupied. The lack of stable anchors and competition from other malls caused the many of the smaller chain tenants to leave the mall and now many storefronts are vacant. Most of the reamaining tenants are mom and pop stores, but there are a few national chains still there. I think footlocker, Waldenbooks, and GNC (the last store a dying mall closes) are still open.
Plans were made in 2006 to tear down the mall and convert it to a strip mall, but Sears (who owns their building) could not agree on anything and such plans have stalled. The mall has changed ownership and management several times in the past few years. No one seems to be willing to deal with it lol.

The Former Children's Palace space; now a paintball fortress:

The Former Mervyns space complete with label scar:

The movie theater marquee:

One of two updated entrances. Too bad they are one the backside of the mall and face away from the main roads:

Two shots from inside taken in 2004. As you can see noone is shopping: