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Judge: Northridge Mall owners given 5 days to secure property before daily $2K fines

Quick action from city officials came after firefighters responded to four fires in less than a month at the vacant mall.
northridge mall.jpg
Posted at 3:34 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 17:59:05-04

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge approved sanctions against the owner of the former Northridge Mall property related to the vacant site's security.

According to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal, in a court hearing on Monday, Judge William Sosnay found it "unreasonable" for the owner, U.S. Black Spruce Enterprises, to not adhere to a 2019 agreement that set requirements to secure the property. Judge Sosnay is now holding the owners in contempt.

U.S. Black Spruce now has until the end of the workday Friday to secure the property. Judge Sosnay set remedial sanctions of $2,000 per day if the company fails to secure the property by then, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.

Judge Sosnay originally set a one-week long date to secure the property but finalized a shorter date of five days after a request from City of Milwaukee representatives.

Northridge Mall Fire 1
Fire at old Northridge Mall Building

Quick action from city officials came after firefighters responded to four fires in less than a month at the vacant mall on July 16, July 19, July 24, and Aug. 10.


According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the city called several people to the stand on Monday to showcase the current state of the property and the danger involved.

Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) lieutenant Shannon Taylor took the stand and said MPD responded to 25 calls at the property in 2022.''

WATCH: Chief Lipski expresses anger over the risk his firefighters are facing.

MFD responds to 4th fire at former Northridge Mall in 3 weeks

After the fourth fire on Aug. 10, Milwaukee Fire Chief Lipski expressed frustration over the lack of security on the long-vacant building. He put heavy emphasis on the risks his crew faces when responding to fires at buildings of this size.

“There's nobody maintaining this property," he said. "There might be an owner on a piece of paper, that's not the same, not when my firefighter's lives are at risk. I’m over it. I’m done. We’re going to be taking action on this.”

northridge mall fire
The Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD) responded to another suspected arson at the former Northridge Mall building Wednesday evening. It is the fourth fire in less than a month.

Northridge Mall has sat vacant for nearly 20 years after it shut down in 2003. The City of Milwaukee issued a demolition order in 2019 to try to tear it down. U.S. Black Spruce has been fighting it in court ever since.

"They have blocked every single attempt for us to move forward to create some renewals, some new life, some new energy on the Northwest side at Northridge in that corridor. I wish they would stop quite frankly," Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson previously said.

In court on Monday, Judge Sosnay called the property's condition "deplorable."

WATCH: Drone video of the former mall

Drone video of former Northridge Mall

“This is not going to go on for three years,” Judge Sosnay said in court Monday. “The court finds this very disturbing.”

Judge Sosnay also said U.S. Black Spruce intentionally violated the court order from 2019, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.

“You’re on a real short leash,” Sosnay said to U.S. Black Spruce representation.

A final hearing on the razing order is set for Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.

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