Kohl’s to open store in former Boston Store space in downtown Milwaukee


Last updated on July 14th, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. plans to open a store in the former Boston Store space on the first floor of the HUB640 building in downtown Milwaukee, according to Milwaukee commercial real estate sources.

The news was first reported Tuesday by the Milwaukee Business Journal. Chicago-based public relations firm KT Public Relations sent out a notification on Monday indicating that there will be a press conference on Friday announcing a “major retailer coming to HUB640.” A spokesperson for KTPR could not immediately be reached for comment for this report.

Representatives for Kohl’s also could not immediately be reached for comment.

HUB640 is the brand name for the former downtown Milwaukee Boston Store and Bon-Ton corporate headquarters building. The five-story, 298,000-square-foot building, located at 640 Vel R. Phillips Ave., was acquired by Chicago-based North Wells Capital in 2017 for $25 million. North Wells Capital has since made a number of improvements to the building.

According to a source, North Wells Capital had been in negotiations with Kohl’s for “at least a year” about plans to open a store in the former Boston Store space, which has been vacant since 2018 when Boston Store’s parent company The Bon-Ton Stores went out of business and closed all of its stores, including its two-level store in downtown Milwaukee.

The first floor of the HUB 640building has 60,000 square feet of retail space. Typical Kohl’s stores are 80,000 square feet, but the company recently has been rolling out a smaller store concept at about 35,000 square feet in size, which could fit in the ground floor HUB640 space. Kohl’s plans to open about 100 new smaller format stores over the next four years.

The upper floors of the HUB640 building are office space. Current office space tenants in the building include North Shore Healthcare, Abacus Architects and Eight Eleven Group.

A representative for North Wells Capital could not immediately be reached for comment.

The addition of a major retail tenant to the HUB640 building is the latest development contributing to a resurgence of the west side of downtown Milwaukee, known as Westown. Other notable Westown developments in recent years include Fiserv Forum and the Deer District, the Bradley Symphony Center, the expansion of the Wisconsin Center, The Avenue and Milwaukee Tool’s new downtown office.

The news about Kohl’s plans to open a downtown Milwaukee store comes shortly after the company’s leadership decided not to move forward with a possible sale of the company to Ohio-based Franchise Group Inc.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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