Bikesharing organization Bublr Bikes is relocating its headquarters and bicycle maintenance facility from Schlitz Park to the Shops of Grand Avenue, becoming the first permanent tenant in the downtown Milwaukee mall’s redevelopment.
Bublr is leasing 6,275 square feet next to Boston Store near the Wisconsin Avenue entrance. The space most recently housed a jewelry accessories store and previously a record store chain. The space will include the group’s offices, a facility to maintain its 512 bikes and customer service counter for system passes and merchandise.
A new Bublr kiosk will also be installed outside the Grand Avenue entrance, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., this year and a mini Bublr station may be installed inside the building itself, immediately outside the group’s offices.
The move puts Bublr at the center of a growing regional network in an area that is a gathering place and connector for all Milwaukeeans, said James Davies, Bublr’s acting executive director.
“We’re proud that we will be an anchor tenant in the revitalization of the Grand Avenue and tied to other nearby redevelopments, such as the Milwaukee Symphony’s planned relocation into the former Grand Theater across the street from us and the new Bucks arena just blocks away,” Davies said. “This location will position Bublr to grow to become an even more viable transportation option for people all over Milwaukee.”
The Bublr Bikes system is a public-private partnership between the City of Milwaukee and Bublr Bikes, with additional support from many other public and private partners.
Since summer 2014, Bublr Bikes, a Milwaukee-based not-for-profit, has launched 57 bike share stations in several City of Milwaukee neighborhoods and Wauwatosa. The system plans to expand to over 100 stations and 800 Bublr Bikes in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, West Allis and Shorewood.
In December 2015, The Aggero Group and Minneapolis developer Hempel Cos. bought the Shops of Grand Avenue and announced plans to redevelop the struggling mall into a mixed-use complex including retail, entertainment and office space. Other uses will be unveiled early this year.
Tony Janowiec, a principal of the Grand Avenue’s ownership team said Bublr fits the redevelopment plans perfectly.
“When the opportunity came to provide Bublr a permanent home in the heart of downtown and Bublr’s network, we knew we had to make it a reality,” Janowiec said. “Our redevelopment plans are all about what makes Milwaukee such a cool place to live and work, which has been Bublr’s goal from its inception. We are proud that they will now call the Grand Avenue home.”