The much-anticipated 3rd Street Market Hall opened its doors at 11 a.m. this morning, with a limited number of vendors and attractions available to patrons.
Its owners intend for the project will become a gathering place for residents of Milwaukee and surrounding communities.
Developing the food and entertainment hall has been a years-long process that moved forward through the COVID-19 pandemic, as the hospitality industry has been hit hard from shutdown orders, labor shortages and logistical challenges.
Even though its doors are now open, the project is still a work in progress. Some food stands were not finished, and other sections were walled off from customers.
Five food vendors are now open, but that number should increase to around 15 by the end of March, said Omar Shaikh, a local restauranteur and part owner of 3rd Street Market Hall.
The entertainment offerings are mostly open, minus the Topgolf suite. That should be ready to go next week once it obtains its occupancy permit.
“It has been a long, long road here, working on it between four and five years,” Shaikh said. “It’s very emotional. At times we thought this project was dead in the water.”
Before the pandemic, 3rd Street Market Hall had 18 vendors on board. Four months into the pandemic, they were down to three. Then the developers had to raise more money due to rising costs of materials and the need to self-perform some of the tenant buildout work.
“I just hope this is a project that everyone regionally will travel to, to see that they’re just proud of in Milwaukee, and just put another big project on the map for this city,” Shaikh said.
Shaikh’s partners include Josh Krsnak of Minneapolis-based Hempel Cos. and Tony Janowiec of Milwaukee-based Interstate Development Partners. The food hall is part of the overall redevelopment of the former Shops at Grand Avenue Mall, which has been renamed The Avenue, which also includes office space and apartments.
The Avenue is located at 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.