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HARPER WOODS, MI-Eastland Center officials hope the addition of three major retailers will breathe new life into the struggling mall. The 46-year-old mall has added a 100,000-sf-plus Sears, which opened this month, a Lowe’s, which is to open next month, and plans for a third major retailer to be announced soon, officials says.

The mall’s problems were fueled by the closing of JC Penney in 2000, and the closings of Montgomery Ward and Winkleman’s in 1997. Since then, Eastland has been hobbling along with just two anchor stores–Marshall Field and Target.

The Sears opened this month in the former JC Penney spot and Lowe’s opened on the former Eastland Cinema land at the corner of Vernier and Beaconsfield roads. The center is negotiating with two retailers for the former Montgomery Ward site, says Denise DeSantis, Eastland’s marketing director.

Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse sits on the opposite end of the mall from a Home Depot that opened in 1997. DeSantis says the Lowe’s and Home Depot are making Eastland a sort of home improvement hub for the area.

Eastland is the only major shopping mall for eastsiders living near the Detroit and Harper Woods borders. More than 500,000 people live in the Eastland Center market area, which includes Detroit, the Grosse Pointes, Eastpointe, Harper Woods, St. Clair Shores, Roseville and Warren. About 80% of the population within three miles of the center own their own homes, making it an attractive area for home improvement stores, officials say.

The mall was purchased in 1998 by Shopco Advisory Corp. of New York. Since then, Shopco has invested heavily to renovate the mall.

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