Depending on which news sources you follow, Milwaukee is going through either a “renaissance” or a “reinvention.” However you want to define it, it’s safe to say that Milwaukee is currently building a lot of New & Wonderful Things! Here are some of them, brought to you by GTG Home Buyers!

• Northridge Mall has been closed since 2003—that’s 21 years!—but the still-standing retail husk continues to be a source of controversy. On one hand, you have countless YouTubers, vandals, ruffians, ne’er-do-wells, and even professional skateboarders sneaking into the abandoned mall on a daily basis. On the other hand, you have the City of Milwaukee engaged in a protracted legal battle with the China-based owner of the mall, U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group. Fun!

In short: Milwaukee wants to knock Northridge down and do something/anything with it. The city issued a raze order for the property back in 2019; Black Spruce has dragged its feet on the issue ever since, racking up fines and occasionally floating unserious plans to redevelop the mall itself. But now, the city plans to thwart Black Spruce by taking control of the property via foreclosure and—FINALLY—knocking it down this year. The old Boston Store section would go down in the next few months, followed by the rest of the mall this summer. Fun!

The city’s new plan was apparently news to the judge presiding over the years-long case, though he has asked for “more urgency from the city and the vacant mall’s owner toward tearing down the vacant building,” according to the [Milwaukee Business Journal].

• Speaking of ongoing sagas, a long-simmering plan to build a new public waterfront walkway in the Harbor District is still going forward, though it may not be as fancy as once planned. The walkway “would run in two segments, separated by railroad tracks,” explains the [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel], “which total nearly three-quarters of a mile between the end of East Greenfield Avenue and the South Kinnickinnic Avenue bridge.” But when the city sought bids for the project in 2023, the lowest bid came in at $15.8 million—$2.5 million more than the project budget. Now, with construction still set for 2024, “department officials are considering ways to scale back some of the project’s elements.”

• And in even more ongoing saga news, “WisDOT [is] getting closer to I-794 project recommendations,” and is “seeking ‘most feasible’ ways to tear down 1 mile (or less) stretch of downtown freeway.” [Urban Milwaukee]

• Back in 2022, the (wonderful) Urban Ecology Center announced plans to convert an old Cream City brick warehouse at its (wonderful) Riverside Park location into a 300-person event space. But wait, there’s more! The still-in-the-works project “will also involve constructing a new connection to the Oak Leaf Trail and accessible green space, including a new water feature,” reports [Urban Milwaukee].

• Using money from an “overperforming tax incremental financing (TIF) district,” Milwaukee would like to spruce up Red Arrow Park, spruce up sections of Water Street and Kilbourn Avenue, and maybe even design a plaza for City Hall. [Urban Milwaukee]

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.