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No trespassing signs, fencing put up around vacant Northridge Mall property following court order

There have been four cases of suspected arson at the property within the last month.
Posted at 4:27 PM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 18:19:28-04

MILWAUKEE — No trespassing signs and fencing have gone up around the vacant Northridge Mall in an attempt to comply with a court order to secure the property on Tuesday.

The court-ordered deadline for the owners of the vacant Northridge Mall, U.S. Black Spruce, to secure the property came and went Friday, Aug. 19.

Last week, a Milwaukee County judge said the owners were not complying with a 2019 agreement and ordered they secure the property by the end of the workday Friday or face a daily $2,000 fine.

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Last Friday, there did not appear to be much action to make changes leading up to it. Fencing around the site was inconsistent and broken windows were still accessible.

The Department of City Development said that a city contractor regularly checks the city-owned Boston Store to ensure that is secure.

Quick action from city officials came after firefighters responded to four fires of suspected arson in less than a month at the vacant mall.

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 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.

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

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