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Fairlane Town Center Under New Ownership

(CBS DETROIT) - The shopping climate is shifting in Metro Detroit.

As e-commerce becomes a top option for retail, malls are suffering to survive.

For decades, shoppers could drive less than 20 miles outside of Detroit to stop at Oakland, Eastland, Northland or Fairlane malls, but two of those centers are now closed for redevelopment.

Both Eastland and Northland are currently under demolition for new projects.

Oakland is now operating under new ownership and Fairlane is following suit.

The Dearborn shopping center was purchased by Centennial Wednesday with a mission to bring a new shopping experience.

"Fairlane in some ways it feels like the last you know mall standing in Dearborn and because of that tenants there are doing quite well," said Centennial Chief Investing Officer Carl Tash.

"The problem of Fairlane is sort of indicative of what's happening around the country where many malls are just too large. They have too much square footage."

Developers say the future of Fairlane is strong, with plans to repurpose the property for mixed-use, including housing.

"How can we repurpose this site collectively because the close to a 100-acre site here of Fairlane is still the center of Dearborn and it's very important to the community, the residents and the employers who are all around the ring-road of this property," Tash said.

"So, you know our goal is to really bring Fairlane forward making it you know a viable property for the next 20 years."

Plans for Fairlane's future are still in the preliminary stages, but developers say a final draft could be complete in two years.

"There does seem to be an interest in new residential, which could run from student housing to multi-family units, to potentially senior housing, an active senior community," Tash said.

"So, we'll work, obviously complete our market studies and meet with all the parties and come up with a plan I think everybody will really like."

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