Real Estate, Retail, and Sustainability

Mall work backs sustainability

Woodland to recycle 90 percent of Sears buildings, welcome upscale tenants.

November 3, 2017
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Woodland Mall
A rendering of the completed renovation for Woodland Mall. Courtesy PREIT

Woodland Mall is entering a new phase of redevelopment. The demolition of the old Sears buildings and the anchoring of a new upscale retailer are expected to lay the foundation for future tenants. In addition to enhancing the mall, owner PREIT plans to divert about 90 percent of crushed concrete toward recycling.

The demolition of the Sears and Sear Auto Center buildings will make way for the arrival of Von Maur, a high-end fashion retailer. Dan Pascale, vice president of development for PREIT, said anchoring Von Maur to the property was strategic to strengthening the mall as a whole.

“Prudent mall owners are constantly enhancing the mall and adding other segments to it, such as more retail, more restaurants, more grocery; you have to keep them all vibrant,” he said. “If you sit back and do nothing, customers are going to go somewhere else.”

Von Maur is expected to open at Woodland Mall in fall 2019. This will be its first location in West Michigan. There are currently 32 locations in 15 states.

Renovations will cost over $100 million. Lansing-based Clark Construction, which also helped renovate the mall in 1998, is the general contractor for this project. Farmington Hills-based JPRA Architects and civil engineer Spalding DeDecker, out of Rochester Hills, also were contracted for the renovation.

Once demolition is complete, the mall will have 313,000 square feet of gross leasable area. The mall plans to bill back approximately 290,000 square feet in a different configuration. The new configuration will allow the mall to anchor additional tenants.

“Because Sears’ building footprint was so big, we’re adding outparcels, as well,” Pascale said. “We’re very pleased with the amount of interest we’ve received. We got national retailers and restaurants interested.”

The current redevelopment is expected to have a domino effect on existing tenants at the mall. Pascale said in addition to adding shop space, the mall will relocate current tenants to accommodate the new layout. Renovations will affect approximately 25 percent of the mall’s existing 116 tenants, and about 40 new tenants are expected to arrive when the project ends.

To support sustainability, 20,000 tons of concrete — about 90 percent of the demolished buildings — will be crushed and recycled for use as building pads, parking lot base and site grading. Demolition began Oct. 19 and is expected to take a month to complete.

Construction crews also are recycling asphalt, which Pascale said will be used as sub-grade material to repave over 30 acres of parking lot surrounding the mall, not including the project area.

“The parking lot was in pretty rough shape,” he said. “We will have a brand new parking lot surface across the entire mall site.”

To further reduce the project’s carbon footprint, the crew will crush concrete on-site, minimizing truck traffic on the roadways. The mall also has taken steps to reduce noise by using a quieter cement crusher, reduce runoff with filters around the storm drains and reduce dust by keeping it wet to prevent spreading.

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