The defunct Northridge Mall has a new owner.
As reported on by the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee-based Phoenix Investors will buy the property for an undisclosed amount. With the firm saying they have plans to redevelop the area, it’s giving some people optimism.
Jake Williams is creator of Bright Sun Films, and conducts extensive research on shuttered malls, bankrupt businesses, and other abandoned places of business across North America. One place he has researched is the Northridge Mall.
“It was one of the earlier malls to go in the grand scheme of things.” Williams tells WTMJ. He believes competition between other businesses, along with the introduction of Walmart to southeastern, and overall “bad perception.”
Now, 20 years after the mall has closed, and after several events, the building has finally been sold, and the opportunity is great. “The Northridge mall is one of the largest parcels in the city that can be developed from a clean sheet” Williams added.
The plan from Phoenix Investors, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal, would be to renovate the mall for industrial or light industrial use. Whether that goes through is yet to be seen.
Even with the potential renovation, the future of the mall is far from over.
“It’s in awful condition,” Williams exclaims, “this building is far too gone to economically make a business case to return to a mall.” Williams later adds he’d be shocked if they reused the building. “They would have to start from scratch. I’m not sure if it would cost any less than to demolish it and start from a clean sheet.”
Williams concludes by saying the sale could eventually help improve the north side of the city. “There’s always going to be a net positive in the surrounding area,” Williams said when asked about redevelopment. “Perception is…everything right now…when people think positively, when people see developments… they want a part of it.”
Williams adds a redevelopment should improve the area, but not just the structure itself.