Michigan Real Estate Journal
September 24, 2001
New mall concept comes to Rochester Hills site
By Amy Kuras
OPEN-AIR SHOPPING CENTER TO DWARF PREDECESSOR
A new retail trend is coming to Metro Detroit with the construction of a new mall in Rochester Hills.
The new center, to be called “the Village of Rochester Hills,” replaces the old Meadowbrook Village Mall, which is being demolished. But the same company will own and operate the new center – Robert B. Aikens and Associates.
The new mall will be open-air, unlike its predecessor, and will have more than double the square footage with 375,000 square feet of space to the old mall’s 150,000. Unlike typical strip malls, it will have a Main Street style architecture, with parallel parking in front of stores and additional parking behind. It varies in that respect from Novi’s Main Street project, which has most parking in large shared lots for its retail tenants.
A similarly styled project, Easton Town Center in Columbus Ohio, has become a tourist attraction for the town.
Bruce Aikens, executive vice president of Robert B. Aikens and Associates, said that many high-end tenants are eager to get into centers like the one his company is building.
“They are striving to go into these open-air lifestyle center, more than a traditional mall,” he said.
Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Chico’s, The Casual Corner Group, Children’s Place, The Bombay Company, Talbot’s, Haig Shoes, Max & Erma’s, Kruse & Muer, and Gourmet Garden, have already signed leases.
The booming – and somewhat under-served-Rochester and Rochester Hills area attracted those tenants, said Aikens.
“Right now for those people to shop at a Gap it’s a half hour drive,” he said. “It’s mind boggling. There are four Gap stores between 12 Oaks and Birmingham and none between Lakeside and Summit Place Mall. That’s a very big hole.”
Demolition is ongoing. The new center should be completed by September of next year, Aikens says. Clark Construction Co. is building the mall, which was designed by David Peterhans.
Aikens is enthused, to say the least, about the new center. “Its concept alone would be very unusual and exciting, but to put the best tenants in the country in it, that’s phenomenal,” he said.