southwest perimeter of the former Northridge Mall in
once was home to a JCPenney store.
Photo courtesy of Dave
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.