MADISON – For 20 years, the Northridge Mall property has been sitting vacant while a legal battle has played out over what the future holds for the site. Now, Governor Tony Evers appears poised to help the City of Milwaukee take matters into its own hands.
In a statement Friday, the Governor announced a 15 million dollar grant for the city to redevelop the Northridge property.
“This grant is only the latest example of how we are connecting the dots with our local and federal partners and working to build stronger, safer, and more prosperous communities across Wisconsin,” said Evers. “This project will remove a blighted property, address safety hazards, and clear the way for the site to be redeveloped into a significant asset for the community, bolstering growth and development for Milwaukee and our state.”
“I greatly appreciate the governor’s allocation of resources to address this significant problem,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “The property is a danger to our firefighters and trespassers. It is a deteriorating building that drags down the surrounding neighborhood. I look forward to finally solving the safety and blight issues associated with this property.”
The Governor’s release says the 15 million dollars would come from American Rescue Plan funds. Projects the money would fund include abating environmental contaminants on the site, completing demolition work, relocating utilities, and continuing revitalization planning to help restore the property to productive use.
What remains to be seen is if the city has the jurisdiction to make decisions on the property, given that the lot still is owned by Chinese company Black Spruce Enterprises. Previous conversations between the city and Black Spruce have failed to yield a sale of the property.
There’s been plenty of pressure from various city organizations to tear down the structure; Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski has been one of the most vocal in that regard, given the number of arson fires his department has responded to at Northridge over the years.
Lipski showed his support for the grant on X:
The Milwaukee Business Journal reports Black Spruce hasn’t shown up in court or maintained the security of the property, despite a court order. It also faces mounting fines for not complying with the order.
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