Summit Place Mall

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Summit Place Mall
Summit Place Mall Sign.jpg
Location Waterford Township, Michigan, United States
Opening date 1963
Closing date September 10, 2009 (mall corridors)
December 2014 (last remaining anchor)
Developer A & W Management[1]
No. of stores and services approx. 200 at peak
No. of anchor tenants 6
Total retail floor area 1,400,000 sq ft (130,000 m2)
No. of floors 1 (2 in former Sears, 3 in former Macy's)

Summit Place Mall, originally Pontiac Mall, was an enclosed shopping mall located in Waterford Township, Michigan, United States. The 1,400,000-square-foot (130,000 m2) retail center, designed by Charles N. Agree, opened in 1963 with expansions between 1987 and 1993. At its peak, it had approximately 200 inline tenants and six anchor stores: Hudson's (later Marshall Field's, then Macy's), Sears, J. C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, Service Merchandise and Kohl's.

Following the opening of Great Lakes Crossing in nearby Auburn Hills in 1998, Summit Place Mall lost many of its tenants to this newer mall, also losing Service Merchandise and Montgomery Ward to their respective bankruptcies in 1999 and 2000. In the 2000s, Summit Place became a dead mall as the majority of its stores closed. Following the closure of Kohl's in March 2009, the mall concourses were closed off in September 2009. J.C. Penney and Macy's remained until early 2010, and Sears until 2014.

History of Summit Place Mall[edit]

Summit Place Mall opened in 1963 under the name Pontiac Mall.[2] At the time, it included approximately thirty inline tenants, as well as two anchor stores: Montgomery Ward and a Hudson's budget store, which was later converted to a full-line Hudson's.[3] Other tenants included Kresge and Kroger. The mall was built by A&W Management, now known as Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust.[1] Sears built a 181,900-square-foot (16,900 m2) store at the north end of the site in the early 1970s, although this store was not part of the mall at the time.[4] In 1972, an elephant named Little Jenny, who starred in the movie Elephant Walk, was buried on the mall site.[5]

Pontiac Mall was expanded with a small wing extending westward from Montgomery Ward and ending at a 154,500-square-foot (14,350 m2) J.C. Penney. Service Merchandise later opened in a portion of the Hudson's building as well. Between 1989 and 1990, the mall was expanded again, a new wing extending from JCPenney towards a newly built MainStreet (later Kohl's) department store,[6] and then northerly to the existing Sears store. Also included in the new construction was a food court called Picnic Place. Once the mall expansion was complete, Pontiac Mall was renamed Summit Place Mall. After this expansion, the mall comprised more than 200 tenants, and would remain at that number until the late 1990s.

Late 1990s-early 2000s: Decline[edit]

Service Merchandise and Montgomery Ward closed in 1999 and 2001, respectively, as both chains declared bankruptcy. Also in 2000, Hudson's was remodeled, before being renamed Marshall Field's a year later.[7][8] After the loss of these two anchors, Summit Place Mall began losing inline tenants, primarily to Great Lakes Crossing, which opened in nearby Auburn Hills in 1998.

General Growth Properties sold Summit Place Mall in 2002 to California-based Namco Financial. Namco announced plans to change the name of the mall to Festivals of Waterford, and add a family entertainment center as well as a $700,000 kid's play area and a waterpark, the latter of which would be located in the former Montgomery Ward.[9][10][11] That December, the children's play area opened,[12] although the waterpark plans were canceled after the city decided not to risk the $20 million indoor waterpark, fearing that the income could not repay the debt.[13]

Mid-late 2000-early 2010s[edit]

State legislative action in 2005 resulted in a law that would allow the owners of Summit Place to receive a tax abatement for redevelopment of the site.[2] The proposed redevelopment called for demolition of half of the mall, and the rezoning of much of the property to include housing.[14]

Marshall Field's was renamed Macy's in September 2006 after Marshall Field's parent company May Co. was purchased by Federated Department Stores (now Macy's, Inc.).[7] In August 2007, Waterford Township explored the creation of a "Corridor Improvement Authority," or CIA, to look into future uses for the property.[15] The mall continued to lose tenants throughout the mid-2000s, including all tenants in the food court and the children's playplace.[9][16] Kohl's closed on March 12, 2009.[17] Following the closure of this anchor, the mall became 96% vacant.[18] The entire mall closed, except for the three remaining anchors, on September 10, 2009.[19] Both J.C. Penney and Macy's closed in March 2010, following closure announcements in January.[20][21][22] Sears, the last tenant of the mall, announced its closure in September 2014.[23] The store closed that December, leaving the entire mega-shopping hub vacant and thus it has become a magnet for vandals, vagrants and scrappers. Waterford Township has placed the mall on its dangerous buildings list and has called for owners to either fix up the mall or tear it down.[24]

Peripheral development[edit]

Summit Place Mall is surrounded by multiple strip malls and big box stores, many of which have vacancies as well. One of the first strip malls in the vicinity of the mall opened in the late 1980s called Oakland Pointe. Originally anchored by Builders Square, before it relocated to Summit North, Mervyns, Toys "R" Us/Kids "R" Us, Marshalls (later AJWright), Media Play and Circuit City, this strip lost all of its anchors except Toys "R" Us through the mid-2000s, although Big Lots was added. The 450,158-square-foot[25] shopping center survived both the closing of Summit Place and the state takeover of Pontiac, Michigan, where it is located, and has since added Value World and Harbor Freight Tools, and later in 2015 Forman Mills will open at the former Mervyn's, joining Toys "R" Us as a co-anchor tenant.

In 1991, Summit Place's developers opened Summit Crossings, a strip mall on the west side of the site, anchored by Office Max, Sports Authority, Target, and Farmer Jack. Sports Authority, Farmer Jack and Target are now vacant. Two years later, Summit North opened, also built by the mall's developers. Summit North contained Best Buy which is now closed and has moved further down Telegraph Road (US-24) and Builders Square, the latter of which was converted to Home Quarters before closing. Gander Mountain built next to Best Buy in 1995. The former HQ/Builder's Square was partially converted to Steve & Barry's in 2006, replacing a Steve & Barry's which closed at Great Lakes Crossing.[26] This newer store closed in early 2009 with the chain's bankruptcy.


  1. ^ a b "No title". Realty and Building (Economist Publishing Company) 147: 122. 
  2. ^ a b Mossa, Lara (2005-11-10). "Law will help Summit Place get back on feet". The Oakland Press. Retrieved 2007-08-19. [dead link]
  3. ^ "No title". Media/scope (Standard Rate & Data Service) 9 (7-12): 109. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Elephant buried at Pontiac Mall". The Victoria Advocate. 23 July 1972. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "No title". The Detroiter (Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce): 12. 1987. 
  7. ^ a b The Oakland Press: Local News
  8. ^ The Oakland Press: Auto/Business: Retailer prepares to welcome new owner
  9. ^ a b "Newspaper Archive". 
  10. ^ Waterford Township, Michigan - 404 Error Page
  11. ^ Mall plans please township: Spinal Column Online
  12. ^ "Newspaper Archive". 
  13. ^ "Officials Consider Building Waterpark at Detroit-Area Mall". Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. 2003-01-31. 
  14. ^ Mossa, Lara (2005-11-18). "Housing may replace part of Summit Place mall". Oakland Press. Retrieved 2007-08-19. [dead link]
  15. ^ Corridor authority proposed: Spinal Column Online
  16. ^
  17. ^ Stores closing in Waterford -
  18. ^ Brasier, L.L. (2007-04-15). "Sports center possible for mall: It's idea to revive Summit Place". Detroit Free Press. 
  19. ^ "What does the future hold for Summit Place mall?". Oakland Press. 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  20. ^ Guest, Greta. Macy's at Summit Place Mall prepares to close Detroit Free Press,, January 5, 2010, retrieved 2010-Jan-05
  21. ^ Guest, Greta (19 January 2010). "JCPenney store in Waterford to close". The Detroit News. Retrieved 19 January 2010. [dead link]
  22. ^ Duggan, Daniel (2010-01-21). "Summit Place J.C. Penney, Macy’s stores to close". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 27 January 2010. 
  23. ^ Hopkins, Carol (17 September 2014). "Sears, last store at Waterford’s Summit Place Mall, to close". The Oakland Press. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Oakland Pointe at
  26. ^ The Oakland Press: Business

Coordinates: 42°38′36″N 83°19′45″W / 42.643438°N 83.329293°W / 42.643438; -83.329293