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Judge rules Northridge Mall owners to secure building or pay fine

The vacant Northridge Mall stands on West Brown Deer Road in the city of Milwaukee recently. (File photo by Rick Benedict)

A Milwaukee judge ruled on Monday that the owners of the former Northridge Mall will have to secure the vacant building by Friday or pay $2,000 a day, local outlets reported. The mall, at 8110 W. Brown Deer Road, was the site of four major blazes possibly set by trespassers within 30 days. 

Milwaukee County Judge William Sosnay scheduled a final ruling on U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group’s appeal to the city’s order to demolish the mall, Urban Milwaukee reported. The ruling signaled the end of a legal dispute between the city and building owners, which has dragged on since 2019. 

Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski said the mall was a drag on city resources after fire crews battled blazes in the 900,000 square-foot property for the fourth time in one month. Fires broke out on Wednesday, Aug. 10, July 24, 19 and 16, and the fire chief added crumbling conditions made it extremely dangerous firefighters to go inside. 

No one has been arrested for suspected arson at the property, but social media posts have shown people inside over the summer. The building has no gas or electricity connections, Lipski added. 

The former Northridge Mall building was a “Key economic cluster opportunity on the northwest side of the city,” Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said at a press conference. 

City officials issued a raze order in 2019, which Black Spruce appealed in court. Then-alderwoman Chantia Lewis said, “the building has become a nuisance that threatens the health and safety of the entire surrounding area.” 

The building was closed in 2003, and it has been attracing trespassers and vandals since at least 2017, city officials said. 

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