Free downtown retail space offered during the holidays

As part of an effort to attract more stores to downtown Milwaukee, some retailers will be offered free retail space between Oct. 15 and Jan. 15.
The incentive program, called the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Retail Emporium, is being offered by the Downtown Milwaukee Business Improvement District. The BID hopes to secure 8 to 10 new stores for the upcoming holiday season.
“I’m very excited to the make this option available to entrepreneurs who have an interest in opening shop downtown, but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge,” said Deanna Inniss, retail recruiter of the Milwaukee Downtown BID. “The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Retail Emporium gives retailers an opportunity to test the downtown market without the long-term commitment of a five-year lease. The interest thus far has been incredible.”
About 20,000 square feet of currently vacant retail space is available through the program. Most of the space is near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Broadway, Inniss said.
So far dozens of potential tenants have made inquiries about the spaces, Inniss said. Many want to try to see if they can be successful downtown before making a long-term commitment, she said.
“It was a hard sell with the building owners,” Innis said. “But we really believe this is a risk worth taking. You very well could end up with a long term lease at the end of three months.”
The deadline to apply for the space is Sunday, Aug. 15.

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