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TROY, MI-A parking waiver has been given to The Oakland Mall to allow the construction of a 140,000-sf Lord and Taylor store over the current main entrance of the 1.68 million-sf facility.

Douglas Mossman, manager of the mall, was successful at acquiring a waiver to only need about 8,000 parking spaces for the mall and the new addition. The city’s zoning ordinance requires about 10,800 parking spots for a mall of this size.

The new store is a coup for the mall, which has been competing for two decades against the Somerset Collection, largely seen as the rich place to shop in Oakland County.

Oakland hasn’t taken the hint, however. Anchored by Sears, JCPenney and a Hudson’s that has been transformed into a Marshall Field’s, the mall has seen steady tenants and new out-lot buildings constructed every few years.

Mark Stimac, the city director of building and zoning, said the Oakland Mall has come a long way in the last 30 years. Situated at 14 Mile Road and John R, the mall and nearby successful strip centers and big box stores have become the primary shopping area for southeast Oakland County.

“I think Oakland has earned its way to attracting a Lord and Taylor,” Stimac told GlobeSt.com. “They’ve really cleaned up their image over the last 10-15 years. It’s starting to compete on the same level as Somerset.”

Oakland is arranged like a plus sign, with anchors at three ends and a new main entrance next to a newly opened Borders Books store. However, that entrance, served by a valet service, will be torn down to construct the fourth anchor for the mall.

The recent zoning variance was approved by the City Council at the end of April. Now, the mall must come forward with site plans, Stimac said. It’s not clear when the plans will be submitted, though they are expected by the end of July.

The mall has previously asked for and received three separate parking reductions. One was in January 1977 for the then new JCPenney anchor and expansion of the mall. Another took place in May 1995 for a new big box Circuit City store. The last one was in July 1999 for a Logan’s Restaurant.

According to Mossman, aerial photos show that there were more than 3,200 vacant parking spaces at the mall on the Saturday before Christmas in 2002, traditionally one of the top two busiest shopping days of the year.

“The addition of the Lord and Taylor store to the Oakland Mall is vital to the continued success of the shopping center,” said Mossman.

Lord and Taylor currently operates 85 stores in 32 markets, including three stores in Michigan.

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