Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm
Retailers are finally discovering the potential of the Kenosha County market, and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, says it’s about time. "It’s surprising that it’s taken this long for retailers to realize the value of the Kenosha area," Antaramian said. "The development has been a little slower than we think it should have been. But now it’s starting to catch up."
A Florida-based developer recently announced plans to build a new shopping center near Interstate 94, while two existing outlet malls in the area are planning improvements. Quality Centers of Orlando, Fla., is planning to construct a new 700,000-square-foot shopping center northwest of Interstate 94 and Highway 50. The first stores are planned to open in mid-2007.
Jeff Labahn, city planner in Kenosha, said he has had conceptual talks with the officials from Quality Centers, but no plans have yet been submitted for his staff to review. The land Quality Centers is looking to develop for the retail center has been annexed by Kenosha from the town of Bristol. Gary Stetson, president of Quality Centers, could not be reached for comment. In addition, the owners of two existing shopping centers in Kenosha near Interstate 94 are planning major improvements.
Prime Outlets, owned by Baltimore-based Prime Retail and located south of Highway 165 on the east side of Interstate 94, has started work on a $25 million project which will add about 150,000 square feet to the 250,000-square-foot retail center, creating a 400,000-square-foot outlet mall. The project is scheduled to be complete in July 2006. Construction crews have started work on the foundations of the addition in recent weeks, said Christine Hahn, marketing manager for Prime Outlets. The addition will add 30 new stores, restaurants and a new guest service center. The guest service center will be the focal point of the center.
The expansion of the outlet mall includes elimination of a public atrium on the mall property, Hahn said. There is minimal demolition involved, she said. Three new tenants have been announced at Prime Outlets – Eddie Bauer, Calvin Klein and Benetton. The Original Outlet Mall, located south of Highway 50 and west of Interstate 94 in Bristol, will have at least a partial redevelopment, according to the Web site of Highland Park, Ill.-based Tucker Development Corp., the mall’s owners. That redevelopment may include big-box retail or a grocery store, the site says. Richard Tucker, president and chief executive officer of Tucker Development, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Antaramian said the Kenosha area could support many more retail shopping centers, including more upscale stores. "This area has been viewed for many years as a secondary market, but it’s starting to emerge as a prime market," he said. "We’ve got the population and the location along Highway 31 and the Interstate." Recent redevelopment along Highway 31 in Kenosha has already generated some office and retail development, Antaramian said.
With the city’s limits now extending west of Interstate 94, additional development is on its way, Antaramian said. One of the projects, called Strawberry Creek, contains a semi-private golf club with an 18-hole course, 326 single family residences, 336 town homes and condominiums, and 264 luxury apartments. "With the golf course in the development and housing planned in the area, the interstate will become much more viable, and I think you’ll see more commercial development," he said. "The retailers are starting to understand that Kenosha is a major market, not a secondary market."
Major Kenosha shopping destinations near Interstate 94
- Prime Outlets: 400,000 square feet, once addition is completed
- The Original Outlet Mall: 384,000 square feet
- Proposed development by Quality Centers of Orlando, Fla: 700,000 square feet