MILWAUKEE -- A push to redevelop Milwaukee's Granville neighborhood has been going on for months. The area includes the former Northridge Mall.
The Granville Business Improvement District has been trying to find ways to counteract a drastic decline in retail businesses over the past 15 years; not by attracting new ones, but by replacing empty store fronts with a variety of industries.
Blueprints on how to transform Milwaukee's Granville district are being fine-tuned. Sam Leichtling is with the Department of City Development.
"So I think there are a lot of things the city can do to help that," Leichtling said. "We've worked with neighbors this past, just over a year."
It's five 'high-profile' sites, including the former Northridge Mall.
"To bring a variety of new uses including office and light industrial production," Leichtling said.
Leichtling was standing on another site, formerly Ray's Indoor Bike Park, an area marked for urban agriculture.
"Try to capitalize on that and capitalize on that and other partners in the neighborhood to bring new food options to the area," Leichtling said.
By in large, the vision has been to replace empty retail spaces in decline since Northridge Mall closed in 2003.
"New style restaurants to agriculture to entertainment," said Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.
Lewis is a driving force behind the project which needs approval by the city.
"The Target building will need to be rezoned and then, we are making sure there are some funds or some TIF (tax increment financing) dollars that will be available to this area," Lewis said.
Lewis does not have a specific dollar amount. But perhaps more importantly, the properties in question are not city-owned.
"We are constantly talking to developers and brokers and saying this is what the plan is. What would you be interested in?" Lewis said.
Here are a couple of figures we've heard through the evolution of this project: 30,000 people work in the Granville neighborhood, but only 11,000 people live there. The goal has been to encourage those people to stay and invest.