Lakeside Mall Today (Left) & The new Lakeside (Right)
The original Lakeside Mall, developed in the 1970’s by the prolific developer Alfred Taubman, was very well adapted to the times—car-centric, climate controlled, and acted as a shopping destination for the surrounding city. Lakeside fulfilled the role of the mall as the heart of the community. As human behaviors and expectations have evolved, the fundamental value of community remains as the inspiration and catalyst for the new Lakeside redevelopment. Here we discuss the design for the redevelopment of this significant site with James Mellor, Master Architect and Principal at CRTKL.
James, what is the central design idea behind the redevelopment?
In a time when we are more connected than ever, we are increasingly lonely—Lakeside’s redevelopment allows us to help alleviate this feeling. Through intentionally prioritizing opportunities for in-person social connections and cultivating friendships for residents and visitors. The mall’s interior Center Court will now be an externalized, vibrant urban core filled with a mix of uses ranges from retail to health and wellness to hospitality and offices to residential and dining providing users with a sense of discovery. The centerpiece is a Central Park offering flexible space for music and art events and carved retreats for passive, quiet moments.
How are you redefining the concept of the traditional town center?
We are applying the values and lessons learned from the Pandemic—whether social, leasing, health, or economic, and layering them over a traditional, tried, and tested urban framework.
A signature two-story community center that anchors and integrates with the Central Park provides the community with more than a traditional retail-focused town center. The center offers recreational facilities such as pools & fitness studios, lending libraries, overlook party spaces, all-season outdoor living rooms, and bike garages to the development.
Additionally, a collection of newly conceived ‘great streets,’ each with its distinct character, wraps the core. Tech-ready and adaptable, the streets accommodate the shifting blend of work and play, drawing individuals out from their nearby homes and into the heart of the community. We have streets that feel contained and bustling and are convenience retail-focused paired with streets that feel slower, shared, and flexible to encourage experientially driven tenants to spill out and engage the street frontage.
Supporting the great streets and radiating from the Town Center is a network of walkable and bikeable residential streets, each quickly accessing the community’s core. These streets are lined and activated by private gardens and balconies that collectively act as the neighborhood’s front porches. A blend of various scaled parks enlivens the encircling parkway—known as the Lyrical Loop—and provides opportunities for strolling, playing, biking, or more active fitness regimens. The design accommodates all age groups and levels of mobility. The focus is to always have community greenspaces within easy walking distance to each residence, providing appropriate venues for inter-generational interactions and easy access to the Town Center within a natural environment that amplifies regional landscapes and the urban forest.
Overall, Lakeside is the new modern neighborhood for Sterling Heights and a return to the heart of the community.