Twelve Oaks Mall: The Heart of Shopping in Novi, MI

The Early Years

Twelve Oaks Mall, a name synonymous with shopping in Novi, Michigan, has a history that dates back to the late 1960s. The initial planning stages for the mall commenced in 1967, following the acquisition of land at the crossroads of 12 Mile and Novi by the J.L. Hudson Corporation.

Interestingly, the site was initially proposed to be used as a landfill, but opposition by residents and the then-Village of Novi led to its development as a mall.

The mall’s development was a collaborative effort involving A. Alfred Taubman, Homart Development, and the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, who came together in a joint venture. Excavation began in the spring of 1975, and the mall opened on August 2, 1977.

Anchored by Hudson’s, with Sears opening later that year and Lord & Taylor and JCPenney the following year, the mall quickly became a shopping destination.

The architectural design and layout of the mall, which were considered advanced for the time, were the work of Gruen Associates, established by Victor Gruen, the pioneer of American shopping malls, and Richard Prince.

This mall was one of three prominent Taubman malls constructed in Metro Detroit in the late 1970s, alongside Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights and Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn.

Twelve Oaks Mall: Expansion and Growth

Twelve Oaks Mall‘s success led to continuous growth and expansion. In 2001, Hudson’s converted to Marshall Field’s, marking a significant change in the mall’s retail landscape. The following year, the defunct United Artists Theatres were demolished to make way for a new “Lifestyle Cafe” food court, which marked a change in Taubman policy.

In 2005, a $63 million expansion project was announced, adding 97,000 sq ft of shared space and a new 165,000 sq ft Nordstrom store. The expansion, completed in 2007, made Twelve Oaks Mall one of Taubman’s most significant mall properties.

The same year, the mall underwent renovations, including additional internal lighting around the existing skylights, enhancing the shopping experience.

The dawn of the 2020s saw several traditional department store retailers update their brick-and-mortar formats. Twelve Oaks Mall welcomed Crate & Barrel to its stores in 2020. By 2023, several new additions like Rue 21, Cotton On, Lovisa, Showcase, Purple, Aerie, BoxLunch, Offline by Aerie, and Warby Parker were announced.

Current Tenants and Dining Options

With over 180 stores, Twelve Oaks Mall offers a diverse shopping experience. The mall caters to various tastes and preferences, from traditional retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney, and Nordstrom to specialty retailers such as Fabletics, Kendra Scott, Kate Spade, Club Monaco, Dry Goods, and Crate and Barrel.

The dining options at Twelve Oaks Mall are equally diverse, with 26 establishments offering everything from fine dining to quick eats. The Cheesecake Factory, a notable addition in 2013, joined other favorites like California Pizza Kitchen and Taco Bell.

The mall has shown adaptability to the evolving retail landscape in recent years, as evidenced by H&M’s relocation to a two-story space in the Sears wing, marking the inauguration of Michigan‘s first two-level H&M store. The mall’s continuous evolution ensures it remains a vibrant and relevant shopping destination.

Community Engagement and Events

Twelve Oaks Mall is more than just a shopping center; it’s a community hub. Over the years, the mall has hosted various events and offers that engage the local community. Seasonal events, promotional activities, and partnerships with local businesses have made the mall a social gathering place.

The mall’s role in community engagement extends beyond shopping and dining. It has become a place where people come together to celebrate, socialize, and enjoy shared experiences. The mall’s events calendar is always bustling with activity, from holiday celebrations to special sales.

The mall’s commitment to community engagement reflects its understanding of the local culture and desire to be more than just a retail space. It’s where memories are made, friendships are forged, and the community comes together.

Economic Impact and Future Prospects

Twelve Oaks Mall’s impact on Novi and the surrounding areas is profound. Twelve Oaks Mall is one of Michigan’s largest malls, both in terms of the total number of stores and gross leasable area, making a substantial contribution to the economic well-being of the local community. Employment opportunities, revenue generation, and regional development are all part of the mall’s economic footprint.

The mall’s prospects look promising, with potential expansions and sustainability practices on the horizon. The closure of traditional stores like Sears and Lord & Taylor has paved the way for new and innovative retail concepts. The mall’s ability to adapt and evolve ensures its continued relevance in an ever-changing retail environment.

Despite challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, Twelve Oaks Mall continues to thrive. Its blend of retail, dining, community engagement, and economic impact makes it a vital part of Novi’s landscape. It’s a place where the past meets the present, and the future looks bright.

Twelve Oaks Watertower
Twelve Oaks Watertower” by Dave Parker is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Conclusion

Twelve Oaks Mall stands as a testament to Novi’s retail evolution. From its early days as a proposed landfill site to its current status as a prominent shopping destination, the mall’s journey reflects growth, adaptation, and community engagement.

The memories of closed or demolished stores are tinged with nostalgia, while the excitement of new additions inspires future visits. Twelve Oaks Mall is not just a place to shop; it’s a part of Novi’s identity, a place that resonates with the ordinary local people who live or have lived there.

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