The new owners of the Shops of Grand Avenue have assembled a project team they believe will transform the struggling downtown Milwaukee mall and reposition the three-block area as a “premier destination” in Westown.
The team includes:
TKWA UrbanLab -- A new Milwaukee-based venture focused on placemaking and creating vibrancy in urban environments by well-known planning and design firm The Kubala Washatko Architects Inc.
Colliers International -- A global real estate company that will handle the management and office brokerage for the property.
NEWaukee -- A social architecture firm that specializes in place-based engagement strategies that will activate the property through program design, strategic partner alignment and events.
The ownership group is a joint venture between Milwaukee-based Aggero Group and Minneapolis-based Hempel Cos. In December, a group including those two firms and Tony Janowiec, who at the time was principal of Milwaukee-based Interstate Parking Co., purchased the mall for $24.5 million.
“We recognize that the Grand Avenue has floundered in past attempts to remain vital and activated,” Janowiec, now principal of the Aggero Group, said. “It’s time for a new vision for the Grand Avenue. We believe this new team has the necessary partners to bring that vision to life.”
So far, ideas for the mall have included a Public Market 2.0 that would focus on craft beer, converting a portion of the mall into an indoor/outdoor area and partnering with educational institutions.
The owner of the Underground Collaborative, a creative arts center that has been located in the mall for four years, said yesterday he wanted to expand his business at the mall and is excited about the future of the property.
The mall’s project team has been meeting weekly and is being led by TKWA through a design and discovery process to fully articulate the new plans for the project.
Plans for the redevelopment and project plans will be released during NEWaukee’s YPWeek Wisconsin 2016, which runs April 23-30.