Kohl’s plans Off/Aisle store in Brown Deer

Space previously housed department store

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Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. plans to open its third area Off/Aisle store at a former department store location in Brown Deer.

The Kohl's Corp. headquarters in Menomonee Falls.
The Kohl’s Corp. headquarters in Menomonee Falls.

The company has submitted plans to the Village of Brown Deer to put an 18,000-square-foot store in the space previously occupied by one of its Kohl’s department stores at 9060 N. Green Bay Road, said Nate Piotrowski, community development director for the Village of Brown Deer. The department store, located in the Marketplace of Brown Deer, closed in June.

It was one of 18 stores nationwide the retailer closed in March for poor performance as it works to address consumers’ shifting shopping habits. The Off/Aisle stores are a new concept through which Kohl’s sells discounted merchandise. It has three other Off/Aisle stores, in Wauwatosa, Waukesha and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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“(Kohl’s) would use the remaining space there, which would be about 46,000 square feet, for staging of seasonal merchandise and fixtures and storage for other stores throughout the area,” Piotrowski said.

Architecture and engineering firm CASCO Diversified Corp. of St. Louis submitted the plans on behalf of Kohl’s Corp., which describes the partitioning of the interior of the store and an outside repainting and new signage.

“We hope you will find that Kohl’s is attempting to maintain a presence in your area by proposing this Off/Aisle project,” the proposal says. “We hope this satisfies any concerns you may have regarding the proposed alterations.”

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“Kohl’s has an existing lease in the building,” Piotrowski said. “My understanding is they probably had some clauses and terms that extended out for several years that it probably made sense to utilize that space rather than sublease it.”

There had not been any discussion with other potential tenants since the Kohl’s department store closed, Piotrowski said.

“We understand that the owner of the mall was generally working with Kohl’s first because of the lease situation and so that negotiation was kind of ongoing and so there was not any additional contact from other retailers about that space,” he said.

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The strip mall in which the vacant storefront is located is zoned for retail, so this industrial use and the trucking that comes along with it would need some review, he said.

“We do have some concern with the idea and the concept of using this as warehousing,” Piotrowski said. “It’s technically not zoned for that. We’ll want to be very careful as we go through the review process so that we ensure that the warehousing component, the storage component, is sort of a one-time exception.”

Village officials were hoping the strip mall could be revitalized, and this could be the way to do it, he said.

“Overall, we’re looking at it generally positive that Kohl’s is bringing a store back to that location, albeit of a different format, but one that is of interest to people in the area,” Piotrowski said.

“Pending all municipal approvals, we intend to open in the summer,” said Julia Fennelly, senior manager of external communications and public relations for Kohl’s Corp. “We continue to test and learn about our new Off-Aisle retail concept. This additional location will be part of our testing process.”

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