Northridge Mall may be closer to meeting a wrecking ball after a judge called for a demolition plan from its owners, but Milwaukee may not have enough money to go through with razing the property, according to multiple reports.
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay ordered U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group, the owner of the former mall at 8110 W. Brown Deer Road, to submit its demolition plan to the court by Jan. 13, BizTimes reported.
City officials said it would take $15 million to tear down the property, which has been a target for vandalism and arson, but had no idea where the money would come from, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Sosnay said at a Monday meeting the shortfall was “unacceptable.”
The court ordered all Black Spruce owners to appear in person at the next hearing, but all but one of them live in China, BizTimes reported. If all owners don’t show at a conference on Jan. 24, they could be found in contempt and face sanctions, court records showed.
The judge lifted an appeal in October that Black Spruce made in 2019 to block the city from razing the mall, which the owners then appealed. The city wanted the property torn down since 2019 and the issue has been blocked, ordered and appealed since.
The city has submitted an inspection report to Sosnay each week, court records showed. In a previous report by city assistant attorney Theresa Montag, trash was left on the unsecured property and broken glass left on the floor was a hazard for first responders.
Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski raised concerns about the mall being a sink on first responder and community resources in July, after several fires broke out at the property over the summer.