Milwaukee seeks to raze Northridge Mall
Mayor cites health and safety concerns

By Katherine Michalets

April 12, 2019

 The southwest perimeter of the former Northridge Mall in Milwaukee
once was home to a JCPenney store.

Photo courtesy of Dave Fidlin

MILWAUKEE — While Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Thursday that Northridge Mall has long been “near and dear to his heart,” its state of disrepair has become a hazard to the community and he wants it razed.

“At the same time there is a lot of hope in the city. There is a lot of positive economic activity in the city and we want that positive economic activity to include the northwest side of the city,” Barrett said during a Thursday morning news conference at the mall on the city’s northwest side.

Barrett recollected going to the mall when it first opened in his late teens and early 20s, as so many Milwaukee residents did. But then times changed and stores closed.

He called it the “sad story of Northridge.”

“Today we are talking about health and safety issues in the north region,” Barrett said, adding that the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services issued orders to raze parcels of the mall, which is about 900,000 square feet.

The city has also begun efforts to make a case for a raze order for the former mall.

There are many violations of code in parts of the mall not owned by the city, Barrett said. The city of Milwaukee owns the former Boston Store area of the mall, which it is moving forward with demolishing.

Barrett said Boston Store closed 16 years ago at Northridge and it’s been 11 years since the investor group U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group Inc. purchased the mall.

District 9 Alderwoman Chantia Lewis said “the bane of her existence” as an elected official and resident is the area.

“We are officially taking steps to say we will not tolerate this anymore. This is a hazard and a nuisance … the city deserves better and we are not going to stand here and take this anymore,” she said during the news conference.