Developer buys Oakland Mall – The Oakland Press

Mario Kiezi of Troy-based MKiezi Investments is expanding land ownership of the Oakland Mall from the former Sears store, purchased last year, to the entire mall.

The 31-year-old has been rearranging properties since he was 17, according to his mother Aklas Kiezi, one of several family members present on Monday afternoon.

Kiezi, describing himself as a “90s kid” who grew up visiting the Oakland mall and recalled singer Britney Spears’ 1999 stop at the mall, which drew a standing crowd that pushed deafening cheers from the fans.

South entrance to the Oakland Mall on March 28, 2022. Peg McNichol/THE OAKLAND PRESS
Oakland Mall sign, March 28, 2022. Peg McNichol/THE OAKLAND PRESS
Oakland Mall sign, March 28, 2022. Peg McNichol/THE OAKLAND PRESS
Water feature inside Oakland Mal on March 28, 2022. Peg McNichol/THE OAKLAND PRESS
Water feature inside Oakland Mal on March 28, 2022. Peg McNichol/THE OAKLAND PRESS

The mall, 412 W 14 Mile Rd., opened in 1968 and is 1.5 million square feet. Current retailers include Macy’s, JCPenney, Dick’s Sporting Goods and At Home.

MKiezi Investments, established in 2013, specializes in commercial real estate, commercial space development and management, with a portfolio of properties in Michigan and Ohio. The company’s most recent notable purchase in the Detroit metro area was the Park Avenue House building in Detroit, with $50.3 million renovation plans to create a 172-room Hilton-branded Tapestry hotel.

At the mall, he would like to set up a shadow kitchen that would operate as a delivery or delivery-only service. He said the kitchen could serve as a resource for small restaurant start-ups, saving owners overhead while positioning them to reach many communities. He noted that the mall is well located for meal delivery services.

Going forward, Kiezi said he’d like to see live entertainment return to the mall, but he’s considering bringing in TikTok stars, which Detroiter Terrell Douglas said he’d like, especially if Kiezi can persuade. Stefan Johnson to appear.

“He’s got these comedic criticisms he does about food, stuff like that,” Douglas said. “He’s the one I would definitely come to see.”

The walker at the Mary Leary Shopping Center in Royal Oak said she had no specific idea about the mall’s renaming or any ideas of what stores might be added, but said she was happy to know that the steakhouse was coming.

“It’s one of the cleanest malls around,” she said. “He has seen better days, but they continue beautifully. He could probably use some paint.

Leary said she likes Penny’s and Macy’s, but says she’s more likely to use malls as a place to hang out.

Kiezi said he would seek public input for a new name, although he was not opposed to maintaining the “Oakland” identity. People can find him on TikTok to make suggestions, he said, about the name or new features they’d like to see at the mall.

Success will come when retailers express interest in the site. The former Sears store building is the future home of a Hobby Lobby and a Longhorn Steakhouse, he said.

Kiezi said he didn’t have a solid timeline for the mall’s redevelopment and had no sketches or drawings to show at Monday’s press conference. He said he wanted to hear ideas from area residents about stores they would like to see and some suggestions on a new name.

After the press conference, Kiezi’s 4-year-old daughter Aviana objected when her father asked her if she would like to see a LOL doll shop. She was more interested in checking out the Easter exhibit being assembled in an open space first.

Either way, Kiezi is keeping an open mind about Oakland Mall’s future. He also said that if anyone knows Britney Spears, contact her. He wouldn’t mind seeing her fill the mall one more time.

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