Easy sell on the north shore

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

    When the $300 million reconstruction of Bayshore Mall is complete in 2006, it will provide a shopping experience unique to the Milwaukee area. Renamed Bayshore Town Center, the mall will look much like a dense, old-fashioned downtown commercial district.
    "It’s going to be like nothing else we have seen (in the Milwaukee area)," said Daniel Cohen, director of tenant representation for Mid-America Real Estate. "It’s going to be terrific."
    About 100,000 square feet of the 506,000-square-foot mall will be torn down. The other 400,000 square feet, primarily consisting of the mall’s anchor stores Kohl’s, Boston Store and Sears, will remain as part of the rebuilt mall, said Ralph Ireland, vice president of development for Columbus, Ohio-based Steiner + Associates, one of the owners of the mall.
    The Bayshore Town Center does not have any space for an additional anchor department store, Ireland said. However, the rebuilt shopping center should attract several national retail chains that do not yet have a presence in Milwaukee to build smaller stores in the mall, he said.
    "The tenant mix will be similar to what we’ve done with our other projects," Ireland said. Specifically he pointed to the Easton project in Columbus, Ohio, and The Lofts at Zona Rose in Kansas City, Mo.
    "There’s no shortage of (retailers) that want to be there," Cohen said.
    "It will be a higher-end mix, but it will also have a lot of the conveniences it has today," Ireland said. "We will have upscale tenants, but it will be a nice cross-section (of stores) for everybody and anybody. We welcome all."
    Sears executives were upset about the construction of a parking garage at the mall that began last year, saying it was disrupting their sales during the holiday shopping season. Some commercial realtors have speculated that the store will become a Sears Grand store or may be bought out by the Bayshore Mall owners. However, Ireland said he expects Sears to remain a part of the mall, because the store has several years remaining on its lease.
    About 600,000 square feet of new space will be built at Bayshore for stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, bringing the total retail space at the mall up to about 1 million square feet. Another 190,000 square feet of office space will be built on floors above the stores.
    In addition, 75 condominiums and more than 100 apartments will be built in the development.
    Ireland declined to reveal the names of any of the other stores that will be in the rebuilt Bayshore Mall. Tenants will not be announced until this summer, at the earliest, Ireland said.
    He did say that some of the smaller stores currently at Bayshore will have stores in the rebuilt mall.
    The mall will be built in a town center design, intended to look like an old-fashioned, pedestrian-friendly main street.
    Bayshore Town Center will be designed to create a place where people want to hang out, so the public spaces will be one of the most important aspects, Ireland said.
    "We like the idea of coming into a suburb and creating a place for people to congregate and enjoy," Ireland said. "We’re trying to create a destination in and of itself. For us, the public spaces we create are the anchors."
    The public spaces include a central square with a pop jet fountain, which children can play in. At times the fountain will be shut off, so jazz concerts, farmers markets, art shows and other events can be held there.
    Two restaurants with outdoor seating will flank the square, creating a lively dining atmosphere, Ireland said.
    "This area of Milwaukee needs more restaurants," he said.
    To increase the amount of activity at the shopping center, the Bayshore redevelopment will include a 7,500-square-foot, 100-seat comedy club and a movie theater complex with six to eight screens, Ireland said. The movie theater complex will show art films and some mainstream movies for families and mature audiences, Ireland said.
    The Bayshore movie theater complex will avoid films that attract large numbers of teens and young adults, Ireland said, so large groups of young people do not loiter there.
    "We don’t want it to attract a nuisance," he said.
    Steiner is negotiating with three different movie theater operators for the Bayshore project. Ireland declined to name those firms.
    Bayshore Mall was an attractive site for a town center project because of its location just off Interstate 43, a short distance from downtown Milwaukee, and its proximity to the affluent North Shore area, Ireland said.
    "It’s in a great area along the lakeshore," he said. "The demographics are nice."
    The throwback town square retail concept will make Bayshore attractive to upscale retailers and shoppers, Ireland said.
    "We’re trying to create a centerpiece for Glendale and the surrounding community," he said.
    February 4, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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