A Journey Through Time: Southland Center Mall in Taylor, MI

Southland Center: A Shopping Destination in Taylor, Michigan

Southland Center, also known as Southland Mall, is situated in Taylor, Michigan, halfway between U.S. Highway 24 and Interstate 75. With 80 stores and services, the mall is anchored by Cinemark Theatres, JCPenney, Best Buy, Forever 21, Shoe Carnival, and Macy’s.

Other notable stores include H&M and Ulta Beauty. As the newest addition to Detroit’s four “land” malls, Southland Center opened on July 20, 1970. Currently owned and managed by Brookfield Properties, one of the largest mall owners in the United States, Southland Center is a popular shopping destination in the region.

Located in the suburbs of Detroit, Southland Center is the only regional mall south of I-94 and less than a quarter-mile from I-75, tying into Detroit’s extensive freeway network. The mall’s strong anchor stores and diverse shopping and dining options cater to the family-oriented local community.

A Storied History: The Making of Southland Center

The mall was designed by Victor Gruen Associates and Louis G. Redstone Associates, with Dayton-Hudson Corporation developing it. The original Southland Mall featured a three-level, 272,000-square-foot Hudson’s at its center, a Woolworth’s dime store, and a Kroger supermarket.

A two-screen movie theater opened just weeks after the mall’s debut. Then, in the mid-1970s, Kroger built a larger facility across the road, and its former store was transformed into smaller stores, eventually leading to a two-level, 215,000-square-foot JCPenney store in 1976.

In 1986, AMC Theatres acquired the theater; in 1988, a small addition was built on the western side, including a 75,000-square-foot Mervyns store. The Rouse Company acquired the mall from its previous owners later that year. In 1992, the food court, Picnic In The Garden, opened, featuring a large triangular-shaped skylight.

The AMC theater shut its doors in 1999, allowing Borders Books & Music to occupy the space a year later. In 2001, Hudson’s underwent a rebranding and became Marshall Field’s, later renamed Macy’s in 2006.

In 2006, Mervyns exited Michigan, and its space was demolished in 2015. The food court, which had lost its tenants in late 2005, was destroyed and rebuilt into a 45,000-square-foot Best Buy store.

Southland Center Major Events Timeline

Year Event
1970 Southland Center opens
1976 JCPenney store added
1986 AMC Theatres acquires the mall’s movie theater
1988 Mervyn’s store added
1992 Picnic In The Garden food court opens
2006 Macy’s replaces Marshall Field’s
2013 Forever 21 moves into the former Borders space
2014 Complete renovation begins
2015 H&M opens
2016 Cinemark multiplex theater opens
2018 Macy’s Backstage outlet store opens
2022 Brookfield defaults on the mall’s loan

Revitalization and Renovation: Southland Center’s Transformation

After the Borders store closed in 2011 due to the chain’s bankruptcy, Rouse Properties was spun off from General Growth Properties in January 2012. New tenants, including rue21, Torrid, and Taco Bell, were added, while several existing stores underwent renovations.

In the spring of 2013, Forever 21 moved into the former Borders space. Later that year, several smaller store spaces near JCPenney were demolished and replaced with an 11,300-square-foot Shoe Carnival store.

On July 2, 2014, Rouse Properties announced plans to replace the vacant Mervyn’s space with a 12-screen Cinemark multiplex theater, which opened in April 2016 after several opening date changes. The renovation also included the addition of outdoor sit-down restaurants.

In late summer 2014, the mall underwent a complete renovation, which included new flooring and lighting, removing the fountain to make way for seating and electronic-device chargers, and the addition of more tenants such as Pink, Francesca’s, and Zumiez.

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The renovation project reached completion in the summer of 2015. On August 29, 2014, Ulta opened its doors in the mall, strategically situated along the corridor connecting Macy’s and Best Buy. H&M opened on October 1, 2015, after the demolition of ten smaller storefronts and the relocation of the Taco Bell restaurant across the corridor.

Recent Developments and Financial Challenges

In September 2018, Macy’s Backstage outlet store opened on a portion of the third floor of the Macy’s store. However, Southland Center faced financial difficulties in 2022 when Brookfield defaulted on the mall’s $78.5 million loan due in July of that year.

This made Southland Center the third Metro Detroit mall to experience financial issues and defaults due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following Fairlane Town Center and The Mall at Partridge Creek.

Despite these challenges, Southland Center remains a significant shopping destination in the Taylor, Michigan, area. Its strategic location, diverse shopping and dining options, and continuous efforts to adapt to the changing retail landscape have made it an enduring fixture in the community.

With its storied history and recent revitalization efforts, Southland Center continues to serve the needs of the family-oriented local area.

Southland Center: A Testament to Adaptability and Resilience

Southland Center in Taylor, MI, has proven to be an adaptable and resilient shopping destination throughout its history. Despite financial challenges and the changing retail landscape, the mall continues to evolve and thrive, serving the local community’s needs.

The continuous efforts to revitalize the mall and the diverse shopping and dining options make Southland Center a valuable asset to the Taylor area.

As consumers’ preferences and needs change, Southland Center’s ability to adapt and innovate will be crucial to its ongoing success. However, with its rich history and strategic location, the mall has the potential to remain a vibrant destination for shoppers in Taylor, Michigan, for many years to come.

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