Fashion block

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 11:00 am

Most of downtown Milwaukee, especially Wisconsin Avenue, is still struggling to attract retail tenants. However one downtown block, located just north of the boutique-filled Historic Third Ward, is suddenly attracting new stores.

In the last year, two boutique clothing stores have opened in the 500 block of North Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. A third will open later this year, along with a salon and an upscale lounge.

“Our whole block is going to be great,” said Clai Green.

Green and Ron Krinn started the block’s makeover when they opened Fred in a 1,400-square-foot space at 524 N. Water St. a year ago. The store sells women’s clothing and purses. Green said he and Krinn purchase the merchandise from factories in Italy, New York and Los Angeles.

On a recent Friday afternoon, several customers were trying on dresses in the store.

“We’re busy all the time,” Green said. “We have a great location. We’re right across the street from Chase Bank (office tower). We’re in the middle of downtown.”

Another advantage for the location, Green said, is the rent in the building is “dirt cheap.”

In November, Kadi Crosley opened Kadi’s Unique Boutique in a 2,100-square-foot space at 532 N. Water St. The redevelopment in the Third Ward, which has attracted several boutique stores, made the Water Street block just to the north an attractive location, Crosley said.

“I’m doing pretty well, about what I expected,” Crosley said. “I expect summer to be even better.”

The block is a higly visible location on a busy street, which Green and Crosley said benefits their stores.

“Everybody that goes from downtown to the Third Ward has to pass us,” Green said. For that reason, the 500 block of Water Street is a better location than being buried in the back of the Third Ward,” he said.

“A lot of people notice the store when they drive by and come back later,” Crosley said.

Green and Krinn plan to open a women’s shoe store, called Red Heel, in a 1,000-square-foot space next to Fred at 522 N. Water St. Red Heel will open Aug. 1 and sell shoes priced between $28 and $150.

“We’ll stay on the cutting edge,” Green said. “Everything a female will see in the magazines they will be able to buy there.”

Sweeny’s, a bar at 518 N. Water St., closed recently and will be replaced by an upscale lounge called Six Degrees. The lounge will open around May 1, said co-owner Tim Mokry. Six Degrees will occupy 2,500 square feet of space in the building and will include a second level VIP area.

Mokry said he and his business partner wanted to open the lounge at that location because the block appears to be improving.

“It’s kind of an up-and-coming area with all of the condos and other things coming in (downtown),” he said. “And there isn’t anything like this in that area.”

Beauty, a popular east side salon at 1633 N. Farwell Ave., plans to open an additional location in the former Cream City Café space at 514 N. Water St. on June 1.

Even bigger changes could be coming to the west side of the block. The entire block is occupied by the parking garage for the Chase Bank tower. The Chase tower and its parking garage are owned by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Fund, which recently announced it plans to build a 24-story tower of office space and condominiums on top of the parking garage. Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Fund needs to obtain an anchor tenant to get the project going. If built, the project also would include the addition of 16,000 square feet of retail space along Water Street and across the street from Fred, Kadi’s Unique Boutique and the other retailers coming to the east side of the block. Retailers love company. “That would be great,” Crosley said. “But it’s going to take time.”


RBC Dain Rauscher Inc., which had considered moving its downtown Milwaukee office to another location, has decided to stay put at 1000 North Water Street and will expand its space in the building. “Our lease came up,” said Tom Sagissor, regional director for the Midwest for RBC Dain Rauscher. “We looked around, there were a lot of opportunities but we couldn’t find anything that was satisfactory to our needs.” The company will expand its space at 1000 North Water Street, adding about 6,000 square feet to increase its space to 23,000 square feet, which will occupy the entire 15th floor in the building. The company needed more space after it merged last year with the Schiffarth-Schnoll Group last year, which included Howard Schnoll, Richard Schilffarth and some other former employees of B.C. Ziegler & Cos.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. plans to demolish its 33-year-old, 5,040-square-foot restaurant at 5265 Fond du Lac Ave. and replace it with a new, 4,027-square-foot restaurant with a capacity for 74 customers. The property is in an improving area of Milwaukee’s central city near the Midtown Center shopping center, which was built by Milwaukee-based Boulder Venture LLC to replace Capitol Court. McDonald’s has more than 31,000 locations in the world and is rebuilding its older restaurants to give them a more modern appearance.

James Bottoni, who has operated a law office out of his home since 2003, plans to move his business into an 894-square-foot, one-story building at 5625 W. Wells St.


Mitchell’s Fish Market, a seafood restaurant and bar, recently opened in a 7,255-square-foot space on the west side of Brookfield Square Mall at 95 N. Moorland Road. The restaurant is located between the Barnes & Noble store and Boston Store, just north of the southern entrance to the mall. Mitchell’s Fish Market is part of Columbus, Ohio-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, which has nine different concepts and about 30 total locations, including the Cameron’s Steakhouse at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale. The Brookfield restaurant is the first location in Wisconsin for Mitchell’s Fish Market.


Broomfield, Colo.-based Noodles & Co. plans to open a restaurant in the vacant, 3,500-square-foot, former Boston Market building at 4859 S. 76th St. The Boston Market restaurant there closed about a year ago. The Noodles & Co. restaurant plans include an outside patio with seating for 20. Noodles & Co. has 130 locations in the United States, including 14 in southeast Wisconsin. The company also plans to open a restaurant in Grafton.

Manjeet Sidhu plans to open a liquor store in the 6,500-square-foot former Hartmann Furniture store building at 5612 W. Forest Home Ave. He also plans to demolish the home at 5608 W. Forest Home Ave. to provide more parking space.

Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Co. plans to build a 6,000-square-foot NAPA Auto Parts store in the 4600 block of South 108th Street, on a one-acre vacant parcel between a McDonald’s restaurant and a Walgreens store.

Menomonee Falls

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. plans to demolish its restaurant at the southeast corner of Pilgrim Road and Appleton Avenue, and build a new restaurant there in its place. The existing restaurant is just under 5,000 square feet and will be replaced by a slightly larger, 5,400-square-foot restaurant with a seating capacity for 130 customers.

Elm Grove

Body Mind System plans to open a location in a 1,700-square-foot space in the Autumn Grove Plaza at 12868 W. Bluemound Road. The business will offer Asian health services, movement classes, wellness services, acupressure and herbal supplements.


Developer and architect Erik Jensen plans to build an 1,800-square-foot shanty-style building in the South Pier District. The building will be occupied by Expedition Outdoor Supply, a retail store specializing in outdoor apparel, surfing and paddle sports. The store will offer kayak rentals on the Sheboygan River. The South Pier District is the peninsula between Lake Michigan and the river, which was once used for storage of coal and other materials. It is being redeveloped and is anchored by the Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center.

Robert and Connie Moeller plan to build a two-story, 5,200-square-foot shanty-style building in the South Pier District. The building will have a residence on the upper level and retail space on the first floor.

Oak Creek

Mahn Court LLC plans to add a 31,548-square-foot addition to its 56,617-square-foot multi-tenant industrial building at 7340 S. Howell Ave.


CB Richard Ellis

Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C. leased 19,442 square feet of office space at 111 E. Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee, from GLP Milwaukee Center, LLP.
Syam Inc. leased 1,144 square feet of retail space at 3779 S. 108th St., Greenfield, from Javic Realty Investment LLP.
ALDI Inc. leased 2.2 acres at the southwest corner of Highway 83 and Arrowhead Drive in Mukwonago from Dale D. Hittman.

Boerke Company

Gray & Associates leased 2,344 square feet of office space in the McGeoch Building at 322 E. Michigan St., Milwaukee, from McGeoch Building LLC.
The Little Toy Company leased 14,288 square feet of industrial space at N110 W13125 Washington Dr., Germantown, from KMR Investment Company LLP.

Colliers Barry

Great Lakes Flooding LLC leased 4,560 square feet of industrial space at N171 W21052 Industrial Dr., Jackson, from Xtreme Investments LLC. Great Lakes Flooding plans to relocate and expand its business consolidating locations in Sheboygan and West Bend.

Judson & Associates

Badger Truck Centers Inc. leased 18,600 square
feet at 11139 W. Becher St., West Allis, from Stevenson Properties.

Apex Commercial

Khalil Afifi d.b.a. Comfort Keyboards purchased 6,248 square feet of space at 5215  W. Clinton Ave., Milwaukee, from GMO Properties LLC.

CB Richard Ellis

221 2nd Street LLC purchased an 18,250-square-foot building at 221 2nd St., Milwaukee from the estate of Clarence Gemerhausen for $600,000.
ALDI Inc. purchased 2.21 acres at the interchange of Highway 36 and county Highway W in Burlington from Highway 36/W 11 LLC for $975,000.

Equity Commercial Real Estate

Jonco Properties LLC purchased the 13,000-square-foot industrial building at 2116 W. Cornell St., Milwaukee, from The McCoy Family Trust for $280,000.

Judson & Associates

Adelman Cleaners purchased the 15,765-square-foot former J.M. Grimstad property at 1001 S. 84th St., West Allis. Grimstad moved out of the property in November into a 50,000-square-foot facility in the Muskego Industrial Park. Adelman will be consolidating three locations at the West Allis property.

Wangard Partners

Marcus Corporation purchased 3.74 acres of land at the corner of Springdale and Johnson Road in Brookfield from Life Investors Pewaukee LLC and Johnson Springdale LLC for $750,000. The property is located across the street from the Marcus Majestic Cinema, which is under construction.

New construction

Briohn Building Corp., Brookfield, recently completed the design and construction of a 7,494-square-foot Neroli Salon and Spa location in the Bayshore Town Center at 5714 N. Bayshore Dr. Suite E102/202, Glendale. Briohn has also been selected to design and remodel the offices for ITT Industries at N28 W23240 Roundy Dr., Pewaukee. Briohn has also been hired to design and build a 73,500-square-foot building at 9940 S. Ridgeview Dr., Oak Creek, for Seville Flexpack Corp.
Keller Inc. was hired to design and build a 4,023-square-foot dental clinic for Dr. Craig Thomas on Fairway Lane in Elkhorn.
MSI General Corp. was selected by Hawks Nursery to design and build a 3,400-square-foot addition to the west side of Hawks’ building at 12217 W. Watertown Plank Road, Wauwatosa.
Selzer-Ornst Co., Wauwatosa, has been selected by Wells Fargo Bank to remodel its 230,000-square-foot Wells Fargo Home Mortgage facility on Parkland Avenue on Milwaukee’s far northwest side. All four floors of the building will be upgraded. Selzer-Ornst was also recently selected by Boelter Companies to complete the remodeling of the office space for its beverage group in Pewaukee. Selzer-Ornst is also working on construction of the 20,000-square-foot, two-story addition to the Schoenstatt Motherhouse Healthcare project near Waukesha. Selzer-Ornst also recently completed an addition to Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church at 2235 W. Greenfield Ave. in Milwaukee. The church was built in 1901. Selzer-Ornst also recently completed the new showroom and service facilities for the Mercedes-Benz of Elmbrook dealership on Moreland Boulevard in Waukesha.

MEDC Loans

Aleco Inc. received a $153,400 MEDC loan to purchase and renovate the building at 4915-25 N. 32nd St., Milwaukee.
Morris Midwest LLC received a $460,000 MEDC
loan to purchase a 21,366-square-foot building with 8,341 square feet of office space and 13,025 square feet of warehouse space at 9300 W. Heather Ave., Milwaukee. The company has 32 full-time employees and plans to hire another 13.


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