The 3rd Street Market Hall project is receiving a $2 million loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp.
The money will support the buildout of the food and entertainment hall, which will be located on the first floor of The Avenue development. The Avenue is the name of the newly transformed Shops of Grand Avenue mall at 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.
MEDC approved a $2 million loan to 3rd Street Market Hall developers Josh Krsnak, Tony Janowiec and Omar Shaikh on Wednesday morning.
The loan will help create an estimated 128 jobs within two years. The total project cost is about $10.62 million.
3rd Street Market Hall is anticipated to open around September, Shaikh said. It will initially have 12 local food vendors, a large 40-seat central bar, Topgolf simulators and game areas and event spaces.
Shaikh said the development group had always planned to apply for an MEDC loan. However, they increased their asking amount for two main reasons.
Firstly, the food hall has grown in size. Shaikh said they have added several new areas over the last several months.
Ownership is also now paying for the buildout of some tenant spaces, he said. About half of the tenants have opted to pay a higher rent in exchange for the owners footing the bill of the buildout work.
The original plan was for each tenant to pay for their own buildout, and 3rd Street Market Hall would only provide the space with power and water.
That changed in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the restaurant business particularly hard. Without this option, some of the vendors would not be able to move forward, Shaikh said.
Even so, the food-hall business was already trending this direction. Shaik said in speaking with other food hall owners across the country, it became clear this alternative was often preferred by both sides.
“A lot of the main leaders in this business and some of the operators that own food halls were turning toward a more turnkey solution versus the original structure even prior to the pandemic,” he said.
With the MEDC loan in hand, the Shaikh and his partners have completed the financing piece of the project. The food hall has also obtained its liquor license from the city.
Construction work is coming along.
Installation of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems is complete. Construction of the bar is complete, and bar equipment will soon be delivered. Work to the gaming areas, like snookball and shuffleboard, should finish this week.
The Topgolf and selfie museum spaces are still under construction. Tenant buildout work is also coming up.
The Avenue project also includes the 52-unit Plankinton Clover apartments and 190,000 square feet of office space.
Office tenants include Good Karma Brands and its four Milwaukee-based radio stations, Graef-USA Inc., Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District No. 21 and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.