Wonderland Village

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Wonderland Village
Wonderland Village Shopping Center Livonia Michigan.JPG
Location Livonia, Michigan, United States
Opening date 2007
Developer Schostak Corporation
Management Schostak Corporation
Owner Schostak Corporation
No. of stores and services 40 +
No. of anchor tenants 2
No. of floors 1

Wonderland Village is an outdoor shopping center in Livonia, Michigan, United States, a suburb of Detroit. The center is located at the southwest corner of Middlebelt Road and Plymouth Road, approximately one mile south of I-96. Walmart and Target are the complex's anchor stores. The complex was formerly the site of a shopping mall called Wonderland Center and later Wonderland Mall, which operated from 1959 until 2004.

History[edit]

Wonderland Center opened in 1959 as an open-air shopping center on the site of a former airport.[1][2]This unique shopping environment featured "hip" 50's art deco tile work on outer walls in several areas. It also showcased an architecturally notable tile lined fountain with twirling metal artifacts that gracefully spouted water and generated white noise. Walkways were sheltered by an extended roof with open spaces in a central area with public drinking fountains and seating. Colorful plastic umbrella like structures sheltered shoppers from rain and snow in the open areas between buildings. At the time, the mall featured Montgomery Ward and Federal's as its anchor stores. [2] The mall also featured Woolworth's and S.S. Kresge's five-and-dime stores at the time of its opening. [3] Federal's later became Foland's Catalog Showroom, while Kresge's remained in operation into the early 1980s even as a standalone Kmart store had opened just west of Wonderland.

In 1983, Schostak Brothers Company assumed full ownership of the mall, and beginning the next year, converted Wonderland from an open-air complex to an enclosed shopping mall. The new Wonderland Mall was dedicated in November 1986. This renovation added 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of gross leasable area. Further renovation in 1989 added a Target store and a movie theater operated by AMC Theaters, followed by Service Merchandise (in the old Foland's), OfficeMax and Dunham's Sports in the early 1990s. After these latter expansions, Wonderland Mall was 862,000 square feet (80,100 m2) in size and comprised more than 80 tenants.[2]

Schostak continued to renovate Wonderland Mall extensively throughout the 1990s. By the end of the decade, the company relocated some stores from a wing to add entertainment-oriented tenants such as an f.y.e. music store and an indoor amusement park called Jeepers![4] The mall's food court was also redesigned and increased in size by 40%, adding national chain restaurants such as Burger King, Sbarro and Steak Escape.[2] The mall also introduced Cyberspace Safari, a marketing program that allowed patrons of the mall to surf the Web and learn about the Internet.[5] The addition of these entertainment venues soon boosted mall sales 20%.[6]

Despite the increase in sales brought on by the addition of entertainment venues, the mall gained a reputation for crime, which combined with the demise of two anchor stores, led to the mall's downfall. Service Merchandise closed in 1999 with the chain. In 2000, Montgomery Ward closed the last of its stores nationwide; many of the other inline tenants began to close as well. Mazel's, a closeout store, opened at the mall in 2000.[7]

Redevelopment[edit]

Wonderland Mall was officially shuttered in 2003, except for Target, Office Max, and Dunham's Sports, the latter two of which closed in 2004. After the mall was closed, plans were announced to demolish the entire structure and an adjacent former Kmart store (which also closed in 2003), and build a new shopping center anchored by a new Target store, as well as a Wal-Mart Supercenter.[8][9]

The Wal-Mart proposal was met with opposition by members of the community, who cited the nearby presence of another Wal-Mart store,[10] while other residents simply did not want a 24-hour Supercenter in their neighborhood.[11] Opponents of the mall's redevelopment held a civic meeting in late 2005, which was interrupted by pranksters shouting epithets,[12] and other opponents picketed in front of the vacant mall.[13] Despite the local opposition, plans were approved for the new shopping center.[14] Demolition of the old mall structure began in 2006.[9]

Description[edit]

The demolition of the old Wonderland Mall made way for construction of the new Wonderland Village shopping center, on which construction began in late 2006. Target opened its new store on July 25, 2007, followed by Wal-Mart a month later.[15] Other tenants which have since opened include Noodles & Company, Johnny's Lunch (now closed), Qdoba, Verizon, FedEx Kinkos, Dot's, Five Guys, Chili's, InkStop,[16] and Casual Male XL.[17]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°22′6.9″N 83°20′1.7″W / 42.368583°N 83.333806°W / 42.368583; -83.333806