Northridge Mall (Milwaukee)

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Northridge Mall
LocationMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Opening dateAugust 14, 1972
DeveloperTaubman Centers, Inc.
OwnerU.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group Inc.
No. of anchor tenants4 (3 vacant)
Total retail floor area800,000 sq ft (74,322 m2)
No. of floors2

Northridge Mall was a shopping mall located in the northern part of Milwaukee, Wisconsin that first opened in August 1972.


The Grand Opening occurred in August 1972, two years after its sister mall, Southridge Mall opened in 1970. Both were financed and owned by Senator Herb Kohl and part of the Taubman Centers. Northridge Mall, and nearby Northridge Lakes development, a residential development consisting of a mix of inventive multi-family residences, were never well received by Milwaukee, and nearby Ozaukee County.[citation needed] The pioneering mall was planned and designed as a regional center, consisting of a two level mall with four anchors: J. C. Penney, Sears, Boston Store, and Gimbels.

In 1992, Jesse Anderson stabbed his wife to death in the parking lot of a TGI Friday's near the mall, claiming two African-American men had attacked the couple and stabbed his wife to death; it was later revealed his alibi was false and he had committed the murder. He was later murdered with Jeffrey Dahmer in the Columbia Correctional Institution in 1994.[1]

The mall declined within the decade after, as the freeway revolts of the 1970s ended up cancelling a planned north freeway to complete the Milwaukee beltline, leaving those intending to go to Northridge on miles of the surface street Brown Deer Road from Interstate 43 and U.S. 41/45 to access the mall; other closer shopping options had been developed in the ensuing decades along each freeways, and the Brown Deer strip in each direction from the mall had developed a number of disparate and cluttered retail developments with very little continuity or theming. Crime around the general area also increased to a smaller extent, but alarmism of those crimes in what was a suburban area in the local media, along with the lingering effects of the Anderson case despite its resolution, decreased the mall's clientele, as suburban shoppers chose other options such as Mayfair, Brookfield Square, and newly-developed power center shopping options in Mequon, Menomonee Falls, and Grafton. The final blow to the mall was the early 2000s recession, which saw a number of tenants pull out after their lease expirations and the mall's owner unable to find new ones outside of local small businesses.

Revitalization attempts[edit]

The former Sears store was razed, and a Menards home improvement store and Pick 'n Save supermarket occupied the site. Also, a Value City furniture store moved into a portion of the old Boston Store building, but closed in May 2009. The rest of the mall remains vacant.

As of August 2013, William Penzey of Penzeys Spices had announced plans to purchase the mall for use in Penzeys Spices operations.[2][3] In April 2014, the Chinese investment company, U.S. Toward Enterprise Group Inc, retained ownership by making a last minute payment halting a foreclosure auction that might have allowed Penzeys Spices to take ownership of the property.[4]

In September 2014, Pick n Save announced it would be closing its store at Northridge Mall. After the Pick n Save closed, only a Menards store remained at the site.[5]

The mall has been used for airsoft events since its abandonment.[6] In 2018, the mall was rented out to MIR Tactical, an airsoft store and event promoter, to host an airsoft game called the "Milwaukee Offensive".[7]

On April 11th, 2019 the City of Milwaukee issued a demolition order for the mall.[8] On the evening of July 22nd, 2019 a maintenance contractor was fatally electrocuted while investigating an open fuse box at the mall.[9]


  1. ^ Tarnoff, Andy (4 January 2012). "Inside a ghost mall: Northridge sits quietly, unknown future ahead". Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  2. ^ Vogel Davis, Stacy (May 9, 2013). "City of Milwaukee officials 'thrilled' about pending Northridge purchase". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  3. ^ Daykin, Tom (August 16, 2013). "Penzey Northridge bid advances". Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  4. ^ Gores, Paul (April 11, 2014). "Chinese firm makes payment, blocking Penzeys Spices' plans for former Northridge Mall". Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  5. ^ Bauter, Alison (12 September 2014). "Pick 'n Save closing another blow to Northridge". Milwaukee Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  6. ^ Airsoft Alfonse (2 March 2018). AIRSOFT IN AN ABANDONED SHOPPING MALL - Tokyo Marui HPA Mp7 Gameplay (YouTube). Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  7. ^ "THE MILWAUKEE OFFENSIVE MALL EVENT 3.0 - 03/30/19 - 03/31/19". MiR Tactical. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  8. ^ Dupont, Amy (11 April 2019). "'Dilapidated:' City orders demolition of former Northridge Mall". Fox 6 Now. Tribune Broadcasting Station. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  9. ^ Durian, Tom (23 July 2019). "Family of man electrocuted at former Northridge Mall looking for answers". TMJ4. Retrieved 11 August 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°10′56″N 088°0′36″W / 43.18222°N 88.01000°W / 43.18222; -88.01000