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New partnership aimed at revitalizing Milwaukee’s north side: “Don’t want to see other businesses leave”

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's north side could soon get a makeover. A new partnership is aimed at revitalizing the area that's been hurting since Northridge Mall closed more than a decade ago.

Alderwoman Chantia Lewis said those who live near 76th and Brown Deer Road want to see new stores, green space and condos in the area. She said those are things that could soon happen, but there might be one big problem.

The 800,000 square foot former Northridge Mall has been closed since 2003. Now dark, empty and long gone, the former mall was the first of many retailers to say goodbye to Milwaukee's north side.

Northridge Mall

Northridge Mall

"They`re bypassing this area to go to something a little more newer. We don`t want to see any other business leave the area," Alderwoman Lewis said.

Alderwoman Lewis said she has a plan to turn things around. She has announced a partnership between the Department of City Development and UW-Milwaukee's Community Solutions Group. She said she hopes fresh ideas will spur redevelopment on the city's far north side.

Northridge Mall

Northridge Mall

New retail, condos and green space are priorities. This, as businesses continue to fold or relocate, including Target, Pick 'n Save and Aldi.

Alderwoman Chantia Lewis

Alderwoman Chantia Lewis

"We want to see something out of the box. We don`t want to do the same old, same old," Lewis said.

In the middle of it all is the Salvation Army's Family Store. Managers there said the store is succeeding, even as neighbors have left. But still, they said more foot traffic certainly wouldn't hurt, especially because sales at the store help fund a downtown men's rehabilitation center.

"We really would like to revitalize this entire area. We`re still hopeful that other businesses will see that they need to be here as well to serve the people just like we serve the people,"

Former Target -- Brown Deer Road

Former Target -- Brown Deer Road

Lewis called the Northridge site the "gem" of all plans going forward, but it could also be the city's biggest stumbling block. The facility is privately owned by a Chinese company. The city and other stakeholders would have to work around the owners' current plans for their property, which include the opening of a Chinese market.

"If you think about it, everything is made in China. Everything gets imported here. Glasses, couches and dishes," Lewis said.

Northridge Mall

Northridge Mall

Northridge Mall

Northridge Mall

Lewis, who took office in April, said she expects the redevelopment partnership to work.

The Granville Business Improvement District will also help fund the study.

26 comments

  • steve

    I have high hopes for the area and wish Chantia Lewis all the best. All of the individuals I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with in those neighborhoods have a strong work ethic, are courteous and professional and deserve some investment and opportunity. And Mike, lots of Americans are hurting, blacks and whites, and as far as I know there is no biological basis to explain why either whites or blacks might have dysfunctional behavior.

    • Opinion8d

      @Steve….yes, everyone has ‘hope’ and wishes her the best. The problem is the people that live in that area -who are mainly black. Stand up for law and order and putting family and education first and maybe things can change. Your ‘pleasure of engaging’ with upstanding people only represents a minority of people there…unfortunately. It’s not about ‘deserving’ something, it’s about businesses being able to operate. Northridge was a gem, as well as most of Brown Deer road there -just like Capital Court was once a great shopping center. I feel bad for every one of those people in that area that are decent people and have to deal with the impact of the uncivilized.

  • walloffthenorthside

    Retailers don’t want to be robbed, have customers robbed or lose more in theft than they bring in via sales. I wouldn’t want to open a store on the north side either.

  • TT

    When you protest and then burn down businesses, how on God’s green earth do you expect someone to invest in a business?
    Common sense says – no thanks!

    • Northridge will never rise again

      THIS EXACTLY! The black community needs to stop focusing their “BLM” nonsense on demonizing and attacking the whites and start fixing their own community’s fundamental problems. As long as the thuggary and crime up that way continues, businesses will continue to leave. Black families need to start taking responsibility for themselves – especially their children who grow up thinking stealing and the thug lifestyle is the only way of life. They brought Northridge’s downfall on themselves and now they are living how they wanted – free of the “White demons” with their thug gangs squabbling over the left-over crumbs left by white-flight. These people don’t want “revitalization”, they will just end up burning it down again. After they closed Northridge guess where the black thugs went to? They started heading West into Menomonee Falls and robbing and stealing from stores out that way. It will never end.

      • steve

        It’s sad to read all of these comments that take such a strongly racist tone. Focusing on cultural values and biological race will not solve the problems you are all describing. Cultural values are adaptations to a long history of structural and economic disenfranchisement based on a socially constructed category we call race that is not biologically real. For example, read up on Milwaukee’s history of redlining and racially restrictive housing covenants. As long as the manufacturing jobs were here through the 70s there was no problem with crime and employment, albeit neighborhoods were still heavily segregated. Yes, globalization has decimated the white working class and that needs to be addressed, but without a doubt it has hurt blacks even more. Try to look at fixing those root issues first over the long term to see real change instead of falling back on simple race based anger. Thanks for reading.

      • NORTHRIDGE WILL NEVER RISE AGAIN

        Oh Steve, have you been drinking the liberal koolaid again? Your nonsense about ” long history of structural and economic disenfranchisement based on a socially constructed category we call race that is not biologically real” is in itself more racist than any of the other truthful posts written here. Yes race is “biologically real” and the way the black families raise their children is horrible, I’ve seen it first hand, the lack of both God and father-figures within these kids lives with parents that lack the parenting skills to care or discipline their children is at the heart of the issue. No one made them that way but themselves – yet they continue to blame “White society” for their own internal problems. The blacks have not been “disenfranchised”, that whole nonsense comes from them constantly wanting a DOUBLE STANDARD and special treatment because of their skin color at EVERY opportunity. This is a proven fact. Too bad you are too blind, sucking on that tainted liberal teat to see it.

      • steve

        Thanks for responding to my post. I’m interested in facts and a reasonable way forward that works and makes sense. Do some research into population genetics and you’ll find that our racial categories do not capture any meaningful biological differences. These categories were created 400 years ago to justify European colonial expansion and exploitation. Calling it liberal kool-aid doesn’t make it so. All of the factors that explain the issues you describe are a consequence of social and historical arrangements. Even something like IQ is not linked to biological race but instead heavily dependent on environmental influences as, for example, twin studies and other experiments have shown over and over again. I’ll grant you that culture and family values matter, to an extent. But, I guarantee that harping on that one issue alone and viewing it through a racist lens will absolutely not solve these issues. Structural discrimination and disenfranchisement have been real, continue to be real and continue to have long lasting legacies that are difficult to unentangle. The double standard has mostly been applied to whites who have been structurally advantaged and advanced in countless ways for hundreds of years because of their skin color but then mystify, forget about, ignore and deny that it happened or happens and now turn around and say blacks should engage in cultural correction and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Do you really, honestly believe that reality is so simple as to say that blacks should just take personal responsibility and that the reason they have not done so is due to biologically based racial deficiencies? Wake up.

      • Northridge will never rise again

        Steve, you really are one of the most clueless liberals I’ve ever seen on these boards. What’s sad is you “attempt” to make yourself look somewhat “educated” with your constant flow of liberal drivel. Ridiculous statements like: “The double standard has mostly been applied to whites who have been structurally advantaged and advanced in countless ways for hundreds of years because of their skin color but then mystify, forget about, ignore and deny that it happened or happens and now turn around and say blacks should engage in cultural correction and pull themselves up by their own bootstrap” is the dumbest pile of liberal nonsense I’ve read in a long time. Tell me something, if you think things like “Black History Month” where blacks celebrate their heritage is OK, What about “White History Month”? Everyone who’s ever suggested “White History Month” has been labeled a racist. How is that not a double standard? Can’t I be proud of my heritage too? Or how about the use of the “N” word by the black community – it’s OK and a daily-used word among the blacks, but the second a white person says it they are instantly attacked and called racist. Then you wonder why you have ended up segregating yourselves. And don’t get me started on the 650,000 whites that died freeing slaves.. not even a “Thank you” or even slight acknowledgement for that.. nope, you’re far too busy blaming the “White devils” for your own lack of education and poor neighborhoods as well as thinking they OWE you for your great-great-great grandfathers being slaves or something. Start taking some responsibility for your own predicaments and stop blaming everyone else. The excuses are getting more pathetic every post you make Steve.

      • Steve

        Thanks again for responding. I understand your anger and indignation based on the perspective you have and the examples you provided. However, here is what I feel is some much needed historical context and some clues from a “clueless liberal” with some underlying logic. First, racism did not end after 300 years slavery, but most blacks are certainly descendants of slaves whereas 50-90 million whites can trace their ancestry directly back to homesteaders who were given 160 acres for free under the 1862 Dawes Act. Jim Crow, legalized segregation and discrimination took hold after the end of slavery all the way up to 1965. The GI Bill of the 1940s and 1950s that provided low cost home mortgages, low interest business loans, tuition assistance, unemployment compensation and living assistance for attending college to white GIs was intentionally withheld from black GIs by the department of veterans affairs. Leading up to the financial crash of 2008 50% of subprime loans in Milwaukee County were predatorily lent to black and Latino families even when they had the financial means and stability to qualify for better loans. An excellent piece of field research in 2003 found that a wide range of actual employers in the Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties were much more likely to call back whites with a criminal record for a follow up job interview compared to blacks without a criminal record, even though they had identical resumes and qualifications, presented themselves professionally in person and were all well spoken. Black people are disproportionately presented in the media in a narrow number of categories such as athlete or criminal thug. So, it’s appropriate and just to have a black history month to try to positively switch this cultural narrative and present blacks in a wide variety of positive roles such as scientist or president. There is no need for a white history month since white history and heritage is de facto woven into curricula. The N-word is backed up by centuries of institutional oppression and lack of access to power, which is why white people probably shouldn’t say it and why it’s more damaging than saying something like cracker. If I, as a white person, am called a cracker it may hurt my feelings but it’s not backed up by institutional power and that’s the difference. At least that’s the logic behind my arguments. Can you acknowledge that instead of just calling it liberal cluelessness? Thanks again for reading, I really do appreciate this exchange.

      • NORTHRIDGE WILL NEVER RISE AGAIN

        Oh Steve, you really do have an “excuse” for everything, don’t you? No wonder your race can’t make it out of the ghetto, there is always an underlying “excuse” for everything they can’t/won’t accomplish. Your statement “Black people are disproportionately presented in the media in a narrow number of categories such as athlete or criminal thug.” while correct on a base level is truth because the black community itself is disproportionately “criminal thugs” or “athletes”, they can’t report on all of the “black scientists” because that may make up .001% of the population. Also, media tends to be more liberal-slanting, so if anything they are slanted in YOUR favor, not ours. You may want to listen to the video on Samuel L. Jackson’s take on “Black history month” before you go spouting off your nonsense “So, it’s appropriate and just to have a black history month to try to positively switch this cultural narrative and present blacks in a wide variety of positive roles such as scientist or president.”.. so this means because your black that only YOU can celebrate your heritage? Why can’t I celebrate my Dutch heritage, for instance, which not many people hear/know about? Sounds like you’re pretty racist. Dutch heritage is not “de-facto”, but thanks for lumping us together based on skin color… because that’s exactly what racist people do. I hope you’re able to see past your own nonsense someday and start making your community better.

      • Steve

        First of all, I’m not black. I’m white with German ancestry, as are a majority of whites in Wisconsin. As for dealing with segregation, that is not something blacks have chosen or are self-imposing. As blacks moved north into manufacturing jobs in the 1940s-1960s they were forced to live in certain neighborhoods, even if they had the means and desire to live elsewhere, due to racially restrictive housing covenants. Once confined to those neighborhoods blacks could not even finance home purchases because real estate redlining meant that banks would not offer loans or, if they did, certainly not on favorable terms. So the vast majority rented and did not build equity. As for media representation, there are 1,200 black professional athletes in the United States yet there are 20,000 black doctors. Black scientists don’t make up .001% of the population, they make up 3% of all scientists and engineers, which is still disproportionately low. And part of the problem, as Neil Degrasse Tyson has explained, is that when he was attending school he was repeatedly pressured to become an athlete and aspire to be like athletic role models instead of wasting his talents on science. Samuel L. Jackson is indeed an inspirational role model and offers powerful and uplifting testimony to the power of individual accountability and responsibility. It would be wrong to take his message, however, to discount and dismiss all of the other structural barriers that have existed and continue to exist for blacks and claim it can all be wiped away with individual choices because Samuel L. Jackson did it. Feel free to celebrate your Dutch heritage, as I do my German heritage and as I did in high school when I attended German cultural and language events as a part of the curriculum. However, what you had asked in your earlier post is why can’t you have a white history month, so try to stay consistent and on topic. Whiteness is indeed a social construction that has changed over time as more and more European ethnicities became lumped together. In the 1700s only white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants were deemed “white” and Catholic Germans, Irish and Italians were considered to be part of a racial and unassimilable sub-category. As they became “American” these groups gave up their ethnicities but now still voluntarily choose to engage their ethnicities symbolically at different times during the year. And yes, I do engage in making my community better by, for example, posting on this discussion board to show people that there are reasonable and sane people out here instead of having to feel depressed when they only see the raging, racist vitriol and tired, old re-hashed stereotypes coming from demented and twisted cruella de vils such as yourself.

      • NORTHRIDGE WILL NEVER RISE AGAIN

        So Steve, in other words you’re one of those uber-liberal whites who is pretending he knows something about the black community and is feeling “guilty” about his whiteness? Did I hit that nail on the head? Thought so. Maybe instead of going on and on with your nonsense liberal prattle and insults you obviously got off your little liberal scripted response brochure you put your money where your mouth is and help the black community out a little? I have. I’ve volunteered down in the inner city (Cherry street) teaching the black community how to use computers and databases and manage a food bank so all of the underfed black families get food. I doubt you’ve ever done anything of the sort. It’s cute you call me a racist because that’s the typical liberal response when you know you’ve lost the argument, especially when I’m the furthest thing from. I think you should stick to making your white hipster “I wish I was black” protest signs and get back to what you’re good at – standing on the street corner crying like the liberal trash you are.

      • Steve

        Cruella, first you assumed that I was black and making excuses for my race which is why I would never “get out of the ghetto”. Now, however, you call me an uber liberal who feels guilty about my whiteness. Does your brain ever seize up and melt down with all of the mental gymnastics it does in trying to resolve and lurch from one contradiction and knee jerk response to another? You don’t make for a good armchair psychiatrist either, whether it’s trying to analyze somebody’s motivations or trying to push their buttons, so don’t give up your daytime hobby of being a frothing at the mouth, racist, discussion board troll. I attempted to engage in a discussion with you by posting my own reasonable and defensible positions while also addressing and responding to yours. However, you didn’t, or couldn’t, answer or respond to a single fact or idea that I presented. Instead you cast this exchange as an argument to apparently be won or lost, ignored my points, deflected and resorted to insults. And that, by the way, is the true indication that somebody has really gone off the rails and lost an argument. So yeah, since it’s clear there’s no possible way of having an exchange with you, because you only want to argue, I’ll lean back on the ropes at this point with my victory in hand and let you swing yourself out. Kumbaya Cruella.

      • Northridge will never rise again

        Libtard Steve, I figured you were either black person defending your ghetto (Since it seems you were so zealously defending blacks) or you were a white uber-liberal who wanted so bad to ‘not be white’ that you would be one of those sad little hipsters that go out and spend all of your time on the street corner protesting with the blacks over whatever nonsense has them all worked up today. Seems I was right on the 2nd count. Both “types” of liberal Koolaid-drinkers are the same, you just happen to be the “sad white” type is all… no contradictions here tootsie, I just call em like I see em.

        If you wonder why I don’t spend countless hours bothering to counter-argument your long-winded mouth foaming paragraph of liberal nonsense it’s because I actually have a JOB, you know a REAL job, not the protesting sign-holding street corner liberal teat licking fest I’m sure you partake in daily, and my time is worth much more than you will ever earn in your lifetime. I’m happy you have all day to drool over your keyboard like the typical liberal keyboard warrior; referencing your liberal propaganda pamphlets in all of your replies. But people like me are actually doing something about the situation in Milwaukee and try to make it better – of course it’s a one-sided effort since it takes both sides to make things better. Maybe better use of your time would be to put your obvious abundance of time into helping the community instead of posting useless tidbits that only serve to re-enforce your own over-inflated liberal ego and express your “white guilt”. In other words, no one cares!

        Resort to name-calling or whatever other little childish insults you want, you liberals do it all the time when you lose an argument. I’m still trying to decide if you went off your medication or overdosed because you are most definitely acting like an escaped mental patient. Your tears are delicious!

        Some of us have work to do so I’ll leave you to your crayons and “I wish I was black” protest signs. Toodles!

    • Liberals change those diapers already

      NORTHRIDGE: Don’t mind “Donald” there, he obviously is a very uninformed liberal and as typical liberal calling everyone “racist” who doesn’t agree with his little viewpoints. And yes, there were many businesses burned down, I guess “Donald” there doesn’t like to fact facts.

  • Chantia Lewis is either ignorant, or thinks people are stupid enough to believe her lies.

    Is this alderwoman really this ignorant? Businesses pass up the area for areas that are newer?
    HA! They pass up the area because the exceedingly high crime rate has them afraid to open in the area. If you want developers in there, you have to get rid of the bad element in the area.. and there is a LOT of it in that area. More and more people refuse to go shopping up there because the risk is too high. The people in the area have to learn to live in society, not against it. Until that ghetto culture is gone you’re going to find it hard to find developers to go in there and revitalize.

  • Metal Maniac

    Germantown and Mequon in 10-15 years. The whole suburban sprawl ponzi scheme at work here people. They build a brand new sub division with new malls, streets, gas stations, parks, houses. Families raise kids and the kids go off to college. The mom and dad move to a new sub division farther out of town for a more “relaxed” lifestyle. Interest builds in new sub division and property values fall in old subdivision. The more affordable sub division is attractive for lower incomes. When you have lower incomes people don’t shop as much at the mall causing the mall to go out of business. Once that falls it becomes a domino effect.

    You don’t want to be the last person holding the ball on this ponzi scheme.

  • Jim

    Fix the crime problem first. Maybe then new business may be willing to invest in that area but first it’s the crime STUPID!!!!

    • NORTHRIDGE WILL NEVER RISE AGAIN

      Totally agree! I remember towards the end of Northridge’s life the crime was getting really out of hand. I had an older friend (In her 50’s) that lived in River Hills and she had come out to shop and some ghetto thugs hit her in the face so hard she lost quite a few of her front teeth and then stole her purse, which they found later burned in a field. Needless to say the ghetto thugs in that area scared away any potential income those stores had. Now they are crying that no one will come to their neighborhood? LOL!

  • Dionte Henly

    True why get this property and let it sit. I have had meetings with business owners who want to invest in this mall structure.

    DON’T LET MILWAUKEE STRUCTURES DIE FROM FAILURE OF REVENUE

  • deletedagain

    The black business men and women can start their stores there. They can hire all the unemployed in the area.
    The kids need jobs and instead of robbing the place they can work there. If the parents work there they can keep an eye on them. And I’m sure that everyone will be paid $15/hour. That way the money will stay in the community and all will prosper.
    sarc

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