Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Menards Plans Northridge Expansion

Retailer building out self-storage facility on former Pick 'n Save property.

By - Apr 12th, 2022 12:32 pm
Menards at 8110 W. Brown Deer Rd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Menards at 8110 W. Brown Deer Rd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Home improvement retailer Menards is moving forward on redeveloping one of the only portions of the Northridge Mall complex not stuck in a protracted court battle. It plans to add 105 self-storage units to the parking lot at the south end of the mall.

The retailer operates a large store, 8110 W. Brown Deer Rd., that was built after the mall itself closed in 2003. It also owns the attached former Pick ‘n Save grocery store, which was built with Menards, but shuttered in 2015.

“We have been very happy there,” said Menards real estate director Tyler Edwards to the Granville Advisory Committee on April 6. “We know that things are coming with the mall and we want to secure our location.”

The city is pursuing a raze order for the remaining mall complex, though its owner U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group is fighting that measure in court. The site could be redeveloped into a mix of uses, while China-based Black Spruce claims it has been pursuing an Asian marketplace in the building for more than a decade.

Menards, the huge chain headquartered in Eau Claire, bought the former grocery store, 8120 W. Brown Deer Rd., in 2017 for $1 million. “One of the worst things can happen to a retail store is you run out of space to expand,” said Edwards. The retailer uses the grocery store as an indoor self-storage facility now. “We know that someday we will need it for the store, just not yet.”

But the former grocery store’s three-acre parking lot has been an issue, said the Menards representative. The new proposal is to secure the lot by building a ring of inward-facing self-storage units. Edwards said they would look like 10 to 12-foot tall buildings from the exterior. Parking would be maintained in the interior and leased as 141 separate spaces.

“So we no longer have illegal semi-truck parking, we have leased parking,” said Edwards. In a written application, Menards said the lot has been subject to illegal dumping and it is a “constant battle” to keep it clean.

“I am not really big on storage facilities, but as long as we are doing it with a purpose and with development in mind, that is something we can discuss,” said area Alderwoman Chantia Lewis. She said it would support single mothers who need temporary storage when they move.

The advisory committee, however, asked Menards to come up with a plan that has more landscaping and potential for community engagement. Chair George Hinton said there is too much concrete in the area, but Edwards said there was a limit to Menards addressing that because it doesn’t own much of the surrounding property.

The Board of Zoning Appeals will have final say on the matter. A special-use variance request to expand the self-storage usage is pending before the board. It is expected to be reviewed on May 5.

Menards customer parking would be maintained as part of the proposal.

In addition to its store and the former grocery store, Menards owns two smaller lots in front of its store that could house outlot buildings. Those properties are addressed as 8104 W. Menard Rd. and 8919 N. Granville Station Rd.


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