#New9thMKE: City leaders trying to breathe new life into Milwaukee’s 9th District

MILWAUKEE -- A new year means new business for Milwaukee's north side. The City of Milwaukee plans to redevelop the struggling 9th District in 2018.

Long considered a ghost town, the alderwoman for that part of the city unveiled plans on Saturday, December 30th, to bring five restaurants and three new retailers to the area in early 2018.

When Milwaukee residents pass by Northridge Mall, instead of a bustling shopping district, they see vacant buildings, empty parking lots and "for sale" signs.

Jason Parker

"It's dying. It really is," said Jason Parker, who lives in Milwaukee. "All of the businesses are leaving."

Over the past several years, a number of fast food chains and big box stores have closed along Brown Deer Road and 76th Street, forcing families to travel elsewhere for essential items.

"I think crime; crime was a big part of why they closed the mall," said Parker.

Now, city leaders are trying to breathe new life into an area that's rapidly disappearing.

"Any kind of businesses they bring in here would be a really good thing," said Parker.

"We are not only open for business but we are filling up those vacancies," said Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.

Chantia Lewis

Saturday, District 9 Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, announced two new restaurants have started serving in recent months -- and more are on their way.

"We have Dunkin' Donuts, we have Captain D's, we have a new sit-down restaurant opening up," Lewis said.

The city has also bought the old Boston Store, and is taking suggestions from the community about what should take over its place.

"Unfortunately, retail is not what it used to be with Amazon and eBay and all that. We're trying to think outside the box," said Lewis.

Among the unique retailers that have agreed to put down roots, is Lush Gourmet Popcorn -- the winner of a local Shark Tank competition.

"We started with a wedding and we started with white chocolate popcorn and we got into liquor-infused popcorn. And then from there we started doing farmers markets and festivals," said Lush Gourmet Popcorn Owner, Marcia Taylor.

Marcia Taylor

Owner Marcia Taylor, says it's important to be a part of improving the place she calls home.

"We're honored and we're humbled and we're really excited," Taylor said.

Lewis says she is also launching the "Granville Redevelopment Advisory Committee" in January, which will be made up of District 9 residents who will work closely with the city leaders on how exactly the area is transformed.