The Northridge Mall was once a thriving suburban retail center, which housed all of the most popular chain stores of the seventies and eighties as well as a six screen movie theater. These days, it is largely a dead mall space which is currently being looked at for a number of potential development projects.
Northridge Mall was originally developed by a partnership that included the retail giants the Kohl family, who also started up the Kohl’s department store chain as well as a Kohl’s supermarket chain which is no longer trading. The mall was buit in the North of Milwaukee to operate as a sister mall to the Southridge Mall, and was designed to operate in much the same way as Southridge with a similar floor plan and similar stores.
It was first opened in 1973, and the original anchor stores for the Northridge Malls were JC Penney, Gimbels and Sears. It thrived through the seventies and much of the 1980′s, however the big turning point for the mall came in 1988 when the Kohl family sold off both Northridge and Southridge. These two partner malls were not bought by the same ownership groups, and therefore ceased to be sister malls at either end of 76th Street, instead becoming rivals. Southridge went on to survive, but Northridge began on a slow downward road which saw it deplete in popularity and tenancy through the nineties.
Its renovation in 1988 under its new owners saw it get a new, aesthetically appealing food court which featured sky lights and neon signage, known as Skyridge Cafes. This was not enough to stop the mall from falling out of favor with both retailers and visitors, and through the early nineties many of the big chains deserted the Northridge Mall to be replaced by independent retailers that proved to be less of a draw for shoppers. In 2000, Saks pulled out, and this proved to be the last straw for the failing mall.