New Year and New Beginnings at Northwest

December 20, 2012 by  

With support from county officials, and a TIF for $33 million, redevelopment has begun at Northwest plaza, St Ann.

Wisconsin-based Menard’s, a regional home improvement chain, has been announced as a new anchor tenant, and Raven is in negotiation with a second. Demolition, to continue through 2013, has begun on the portions for which renovation is not cost-effective, approximately half the square footage. Several buildings, including the office tower will be overhauled. Agreements with major tenants should spur interest from shoe stores and restaurants, printing companies and jewelers and all of the other merchants who breathe life to such a shopping area.

When it was built 50 years ago, Northwest Plaza was the largest shopping center in the world. However, over the last decade, the Plaza became increasingly derelict. Anchor stores and other inside and outside tenants closed their doors. Efforts to revive the center, including exploration of tax incremental financing (TIF) in the mid-2000s came to naught. After passing through a succession of owners, the mall was finally foreclosed and locked up at the beginning of 2011.

While hurdles remain for Northwest Plaza, optimism is finding fertile ground at the site: a new owner has purchased the complex from the bank. Raven Development hopes to shepherd the property back to life and turn it into a phoenix for the St. Ann community.

At $106 million over five years, the redevelopment will transform the area into The Crossings at Northwest – once more an open-air center as it began life, so many years ago.