A well-known local development company is suing the city of Livonia for what they claim was an unfair process over proposed housing on a part of the old Wonderland Mall property.
Schostak Brothers & Company, a Livonia-based development and real estate company, is suing the city for millions in damages, claiming they were treated unfairly, and were strung along by the city as they pitched multiple plans for a housing development on empty lots where Wonderland Mall used to sit.
Wonderland Mall, originally named Wonderland Center, was a very popular mall in Southeast Michigan from the 1960s through the 1990s. It was originally an outdoor mall, before being enclosed in 1986, and then being reopened as Wonderland Mall.
After some of its main anchor stores vacated, Wonderland Mall closed in early 2003, with only Dunham’s, Office Max and Target open, with exterior entrances.
By 2007, after much debate, a Wal-Mart SuperCenter was opened where Wonderland Mall once stood. The Wal-Mart became an anchor for the Wonderland Village, which opened in 2007, as a strip mall, including Chili’s, Potbelly, LA Fitness and Target.
Years later, as part of Livonia’s push to draw younger families into the city, a plan to build three micro-downtowns was passed, which included apartments. At the time, new apartments hadn’t been built in the city in more than three decades.
Schostak alleges that city encouraged them to propose plans to build apartments at 29707 and 30273 Plymouth Road, located at the on the south side of Plymouth Road between Middlebelt Road and Milburn Avenue in Livonia, which are currently empty grass lots between large box stores. The development was known as “Wonderland Flats.”
Schostak details a long timeline of interaction with city officials, where they encouraged development, demanded changes and new plans, and were eventually turned down, and as they claim, denied due process.
The lawsuit claims the “city needlessly subjected (Schostak) to a multiple year process between 2017 and 2022 when city had no intention of rezoning or otherwise permitting (Schostak) to proceed with developing the properties as proposed in the Wonderland Flats application(s).”
Schostak claims it spent more than $450,000 on redesigning plans and hiring additional consultants to rebut complaints from residents and council members, and says the city’s behavior has reduced the property’s value by $10 million.