A new initiative that is expected to reshape the 9th District’s business corridor and make a lasting impact on the surrounding community was unveiled by Alderwoman Chantia Lewis on December 30.

The announcement coincided with the opening of a new restaurant in the district, Irie’s Place, and focused on the roadmap by the City of Milwaukee to redevelop the struggling 9th District in 2018.

“Not only is it going to be the New Year, it’s going to be a whole new 9th District,” said Alderwoman Lewis. “There have been a lot of exciting business developments lately, and this announcement is a further commitment to that effort.”

The plan detailed steps to transform the economically abandoned region into a retail hub, starting with five new restaurants and three retail locations. The approach is also designed to change the perception of the area in the minds of Milwaukee residents.

The once iconic Northridge Mall has been shuttered for over a decade, with its formerly thriving shopping district standing empty and boarded up. The implosion of commercial enterprises that used to sustain the area have left nearby residents without access to essential products and services.

Kickstarting the latest push for rejuvenation was the official approval by the Milwaukee Common Council to transfer the Northridge parcel to the city.

“This is a huge milestone, we couldn’t have done it without community partner Bill Penzey. We are truly grateful to him. The City of Milwaukee is now able to make some major development strides at Northridge and across Granville,” said Alderwoman Lewis. “We are looking forward to all the incredible changes that will be coming to the area.”

The move allows the city to begin marketing the property for redevelopment in early 2018. The city’s redevelopment plan for the Granville area calls for converting the former mall into light industrial space, along with developing a public plaza with neighborhood-oriented stores and restaurants near the northwest corner of W. Brown Deer Road and N. 76th Street.

“We are not only open for business but we are filling up those vacancies,” added Alderwoman Lewis. “We have Dunkin’ Donuts, we have Captain D’s, we have a new sit-down restaurant opening up. Retail is not what it used to be with Amazon and online shops, so we’re trying to think outside the box.”

In November, the Brown Deer Road and Good Hope Road business corridors were the highlight of the Business Builders Summit. The workshop aimed to incubate aspiring entrepreneurs for the area’s redevelopment. Both roads had been vital to the Northridge commercial success of the 1970s.

Alderwoman Lewis also plans to launch the Granville Redevelopment Advisory Committee this month, comprised of District 9 residents who will work with city leaders on how to transform the area.

A promotional video was released with the #New9thMKE announcement to present a positive message about District 9, and attract more businesses to the area. The pictures included here show the external condition of Northridge Mall in June of 2013.

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Lee Matz