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Almost a done deal? Manitowoc's old mall may soon have a new owner

Posted at 5:22 PM, Apr 17, 2024

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — Just off the lakeshore is a massive, 40-acre property that used to be Manitowoc’s mall. The city says they're closer than ever to a big change.

  • Manitowoc's mall property may be changing ownership as the City nears a deal.
  • Mayor Justin Nickels says that this was on his bucket list and new things are coming soon.
  • Mall neighbor, Jeff Korinek, hopes there will be a mix of both housing and shops.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

Jeff Korinek says he has lived just across the street since he was 13.

"The mall was part of our family,” says Korinek. "I got my first job at Willard’s as a stock boy when I was in Junior High."

He watched the mall turn from a lively place into a nearly empty lot.

"Something needs to be done,” said Korinek. “We hope to see improvements since the city has been involved."

That involvement from the city and Mayor Justin Nickels has been 15 years in the making.

"It will mean a lot,” said Mayor Nickels. “This one has been on my bucket list."

For years, the city has been in a legal struggle with the property owner to take over the 40 acres.

But now, the mayor says a deal to own it will be signed soon.

We reached out to the owner's attorney for details but haven't heard back.

"I think this is really the first major step. It's been many years of 'what's happening, what's happening, what's happening?'” said Mayor Nickels. “We're able to now tell the citizens something is going to happen pretty quickly."

Mayor Nickels compared the project to the Riverpoint District and the developed waterfront downtown. He said much like those properties the city will leave it up to private companies to develop the land.

Korinek has ideas about what he'd like to see.

"Housing, single-family housing, maybe some duplexes,” he said. “Possible small city park, some place to take my grandchildren."

The city attorney tells me that the final deal could be signed as early as Friday. The city then may be able to announce some plans after everything is confirmed.