Northridge Mall still not secure according to reports, photos submitted by the city

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Four days after Milwaukee County Judge William Sosnay said the owners of the abandoned Northridge Mall had to have the property secured, photos and reports filed by the city of Milwaukee indicate work still needs to be done.

"It is obvious from these reports and photos that US Black Spruce is non-compliant for all the matters listed in the agreement," said Assistant City Attorney Theresa Montag in a letter filed with the court on Monday. "There is no 24-hour on-site professional security, the access points haven't been secured, the rubbish has not been removed from the property, and the landscaping has not been cut back to appropriate standards. Lack of compliance with these requirements endanger the community and greatly impact public safety."

A series of inspections conducted by the city over the weekend highlighted a number of concerns on the property, including several open electrical boxes, dangling wires, an open elevator shaft, several entrances to the building that are not secured and a variety of debris.

Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski has been vocal about the mall posing a danger to his firefighters forced with fighting the fires that have started.

"Other dangers within the mall include holes in the floor, dangling wires, unsecured electrical panels and un-lit areas of the cavernous space," Montag said in the report. "All of these dangers inhibit first responders' movements as well as add obstacles and hazards to their already dangerous work."

Judge Sosnay gave the owners, US Black Spruce Enterprises, until last Friday to have the building secured before facing a daily $2,000 fine.

The community is growing frustrated, too. Mary Hoehne is the executive director of the Granville Business Improvement District. She says their patience has worn out.

"Our biggest concern, right now, is the nothing being done," Hoehne said. "I think we need a new beginning. I feel, and we feel, the mall has to go."

Hoehne is hopeful investors jump at the opportunity to develop the location and help the area grow.

"How great would it be if a development was done at that property?" asked Hoehne. "I truly believe Brown Deer Road would have an unbelievable renaissance that would offer jobs. People would be so enthused and it would bring people back and it would just bring a changed attitude, a real positivity."

A 2019 city condemnation order is set to be reviewed on Oct. 3. It was overturned on appeal in March.

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