New owners ponder new uses for Shops of Grand Avenue

Courtney Groff, the general manager for the Shops of Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, said the mall’s new owners’ first order of business will be to reach out to local stakeholders over the next 30 to 45 days to gain insight into the needs of the downtown community.

The 293,596-square-foot enclosed mall at 275 W. Wisconsin Ave. was purchased by Alliance Capital Invest, a New York-based real estate investment firm led by Alex Levin, which submitted the winning $16.5 million bid in an online auction in October.

“They hope to get input from and possibly collaborate with Westown Association, Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee Development Corp., City of Milwaukee and Visit Milwaukee,” Groff said.

Redevelopment plans for the mall could include new uses. Mid-America Real Estate, which has been leasing the retail space at the mall, made the decision to hire the office leasing team at RFP Commercial and also will be retaining an architect to explore creative ways to introduce new uses for at least a portion of the mall’s Plankinton Building.

“Alliance Capital Invest recognizes that the Plankinton Building needs to be revitalized and repurposed,” said Dan Rosenfeld, principal for Mid-America Real Estate-Wisconsin. “In an effort to broaden our reach and expand our marketing efforts so as to make sure we are capturing all user possibilities, we started building a team prior to closing.”

Mid-America was hired two and a half years ago by the previous owner of the mall, a group of Bank of America investors, as the property’s asset manager.

The strategy for the Shops of Grand Avenue will be mixed-use, Rosenfeld said.

Delia Luna, owner of 9Round, one of the mall’s newest tenants, said, “I’m more than excited to welcome the new owner and the changes they have planned for The Shops of Grand Avenue. This area is the heart of Milwaukee, and revival is needed.”

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