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Old May 2nd, 2007, 11:00 PM   #1261
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Originally Posted by Skyking2 View Post
Thanks for the info on the Chase Tower, Exit three-twenty. Unfortunately, it shows nothing of the proposed addition on top of the parking structure. That is what I was most interested in, though the renovation plans look interesting...
My thoughts exactly on the add-on. Perhaps working on a better design or one more re-tuned?
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 12:20 AM   #1262
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I posted this somewhere.. but there was a smaller updated rendering on the biztimes site. Looks like they have changed the material of the tower. Picture only showed the parking garage and a bit of the tower directly about the garage. Material appeared to be closer to what is on the current chase tower.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 01:43 AM   #1263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exit_320
I posted this somewhere.. but there was a smaller updated rendering on the biztimes site. Looks like they have changed the material of the tower. Picture only showed the parking garage and a bit of the tower directly about the garage. Material appeared to be closer to what is on the current chase tower.
They are the same rendering, just one is a bit crisper and lighter than the other. I'm pretty sure the colors just look different between the two due to the differences in the publishing process.

Last edited by Markitect; May 3rd, 2007 at 01:53 AM.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 01:54 AM   #1264
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those Chase plans look awesome. What is most exciting is that the Riverwalk will have more tenants on it.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 02:26 AM   #1265
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on a side note...18 and 9? Are you serious? I can't wait to get back to some brew games.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 04:27 AM   #1266
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It'll be tough to improve upon such a modernist masterpiece as Chase, but I think the work recently presented can be mostly pardoned from that responsibility for the activity such renovations would bring to Water street and the Riverwalk in place of a beautiful, but otherwise dead public space.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 06:14 AM   #1267
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A reminder: No political discussion unrelated to development.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 06:30 AM   #1268
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give me a break.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 07:47 AM   #1269
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give me a break.
He did.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #1270
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Great news about Grand Avenue in today's BizJournal. Possible Best Buy, Sports Authority and others.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #1271
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Indeed. The Grand's new owners are doing the right thing in finding comparable tenants to the tenants/anchors currently in the mall.

Quote:
A grand shopping expansion plan

Major renovation possible for downtown mall

The Business Journal of Milwaukee - May 4, 2007 by Pete Millard

The owner of The Shops of Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee is working on plans for a major redevelopment of the struggling shopping mall.

Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., the New York City real estate investment firm that purchased the mall in 2005, has presented preliminary plans estimated at more than $20 million to the Milwaukee Department of City Development for redeveloping 100,000 to 150,000 square feet of retail space. Overall, the mall has 415,000 square feet of retail space.

The major changes include construction of more storefront entrances on the mall's north end along West Wisconsin Avenue and reconstructing the main entrance at North Old World Third Street.

"We are reviewing several plans, but have not yet committed to beginning construction," said Barry Lustig, an Ashkenazy spokesman.

Project renderings on Ashkenazy Acquisition's Web site show Minneapolis electronics retailer Best Buy as one of several new retailers that may have an interest in the mall. Other potential new tenants for The Shops of Grand Avenue are CompUSA, Dallas, and Sports Authority, Englewood, Colo.

The renderings show a new entrance from North Old World Third Street with an escalator leading up to a Best Buy store on the second level. A second rendering shows a Sports Authority store added to the second level of the Plankinton Building above Linens 'n Things.

City officials have been trying to lure an electronics retailer to downtown Milwaukee for several years.

A Best Buy spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

City meeting
Ashkenazy Acquisition representatives recently met with DCD to present the redevelopment plans. Andrea Rowe Richards, a spokeswoman for DCD, declined to reveal specific details of the renovation.

"We've been briefed on the new plans for The Shops of Grand Avenue," she said. "We believe the new direction will shift the tide of shoppers back to our dynamic downtown."

Changing the face of the shopping center will help the mall's owner attract more national retailers, said Ed Kileen, a partner at Endeavour Development Inc., Milwaukee, a development firm that specializes in retail projects.

"This is also a way of showing the city what they could do if they received some assistance," Kileen said.

So far, Ashkenazy Acquisition has not requested financial support in the form of a tax incremental financing district that would include The Shops of Grand Avenue. However, some developers believe Ashkenazy will eventually request city support to help revitalize the property.

The redevelopment plan for The Shops of Grand Avenue includes new signage on the 1,200-car parking structure south of the mall along West Michigan Street, according to a rendering on the firm's Web site.

"New and bigger signs will help direct people to the mall," said Kendall Breunig, a principal at Sunset Investors, Franklin.

Sunset Investors owns 83,000 square feet of office space on the third floor of the Plankinton Building. The Shops of Grand Avenue occupies the first and second floors of the Plankinton Building. Breunig is marketing the third floor as office condos.

"Changes of this magnitude for the mall will generate more activity, which is good for everybody," said Breunig.

Ashkenazy Acquisition purchased the 25-year-old, 291,000-square-foot Shops of Grand Avenue from Milwaukee's Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. for $31.7 million.

NML spent an estimated $30 million renovating the mall between 2002 and 2004 that eventually helped The Shops of Grand Avenue recruit new tenants such as Old Navy, T.J. Maxx, Linens 'n Things, Lane Bryant, Famous Footwear and OfficeMax.

The mall has struggled in recent years as most of the major shopping malls in the Milwaukee area have undergone significant renovations.

A $295 million conversion of Bayshore Mall in Glendale to an open-air center was completed last fall. Mayfair Mall has added several key tenants in recent years, including Crate & Barrel and Barnes & Noble. In addition, Brookfield Square in Brookfield recently announced plans for an upgrade of its shopping center.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 05:23 PM   #1272
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The renderings for the proposed redevelopment of the Shops of Grand Avenue can be found here:

http://www.aacrealty.com/portfolio/index.html
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Old May 4th, 2007, 06:02 PM   #1273
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I have amazingly huge issues with the redevelopment plans presented. Its nice to see retailers looking, but the grand should be looking for more shops with smaller floorplans like bringing gap/banana/express back. Big box retailers should be in the park east redevelopment as part of mixed use projects. (Or on some of the vacant land in the area.. perhaps in Ghazi's plan, or the large empty lot on Wells).

The current plans destroy the architecture in the current Plankinton Arcade and "suburbanize" it. The current character of the arcade is what sets it apart from other shopping experiences in the area.

From the renderings it also appears that the development will cut off the Mall from the buildings East of the river where a lot of the food court patrons and day shoppers walk from. Yes, people can take the street and I would.. but most won't.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 06:43 PM   #1274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exit_320 View Post
I have amazingly huge issues with the redevelopment plans presented. Its nice to see retailers looking, but the grand should be looking for more shops with smaller floorplans like bringing gap/banana/express back. Big box retailers should be in the park east redevelopment as part of mixed use projects. (Or on some of the vacant land in the area.. perhaps in Ghazi's plan, or the large empty lot on Wells).

The current plans destroy the architecture in the current Plankinton Arcade and "suburbanize" it. The current character of the arcade is what sets it apart from other shopping experiences in the area.

From the renderings it also appears that the development will cut off the Mall from the buildings East of the river where a lot of the food court patrons and day shoppers walk from. Yes, people can take the street and I would.. but most won't.
Well my take on the renderings is I wish they would have got a better firm to do the computer-drawings. It looked like a Grade C design at best.

I find it unbelievable that in the past everyone on this forum knows well of Grand Avenue's problems landing smaller, more upscale tenants. All the ones that were there closed up shop months and years ago, with no intention of showing up again. But then when there is some hope for this mall for be revitalized by not big box, but mid-box stores (I wouldn't call Best Buy or CompUSA big boxes), there are still naysayers.

Concerning the Park East, developers wanted upscale shops there. Everyone threw a brew-ha because of fear it would directly compete with the Shops, which I correctly pointed out that the Shops are luring a completely different consumer base than what upscale stores want. But now the call from exit_320 is for the Park East to instead get the cheaper, non-upscale stores and somehow try to pull a miracle and get stores that closed due to crime and poor business figures back into the mall.

And as for "suburbanizing", I'd like to get a fuller point concerning the Plankinton Arcade's architecture and how it would be destroyed.

Again, something great for downtown Milwaukee could possibly get snubbed.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 06:55 PM   #1275
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Originally Posted by brewcityfan View Post
I find it unbelievable that in the past everyone on this forum knows well of Grand Avenue's problems landing smaller, more upscale tenants.
The issues of landing smaller tenants is due 1) to the layout and lack of street access / exposure by much of the tenants and 2) piss poor marketing on the part of previous owners.

Quote:
Concerning the Park East, developers wanted upscale shops there. Everyone threw a brew-ha because of fear it would directly compete with the Shops, which I correctly pointed out that the Shops are luring a completely different consumer base than what upscale stores want. But now the call from exit_320 is for the Park East to instead get the cheaper, non-upscale stores and somehow try to pull a miracle and get stores that closed due to crime and poor business figures back into the mall.
Upscale stores weren't called for in the Park East.. one tenant discussed was a Target unless you consider that upscale. The issue with people complaining about the TIF's was partially due to retailers at Grand Avenue, but mostly due to the hotel industry and supporting hotel developments that there is no demand for. Like it's been said before, if there is demand for hotel space downtown, these developments should be able to do it without financial assistance. Also the last time I checked Best Buy isn't considered a "cheaper" store.

Also Grand Avenue didn't lose business due to crime, just the perception of crime (and lack of parking). Again.. goes back to marketing.

Quote:
And as for "suburbanizing", I'd like to get a fuller point concerning the Plankinton Arcade's architecture and how it would be destroyed.
Hmm... filling in the arcade part with a floor? Destroying the whole feeling of the building? The first redesign was bad enough..
Quote:
Again, something great for downtown Milwaukee could possibly get snubbed.
Not snubbed, just thought of in a bigger scale and not done just for the sake of having businesses.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 07:09 PM   #1276
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Originally Posted by exit_320 View Post
The issues of landing smaller tenants is due 1) to the layout and lack of street access / exposure by much of the tenants and 2) piss poor marketing on the part of previous owners.
Well that just sounds too easy and a simple fix with the right owner(s).

Quote:
Upscale stores weren't called for in the Park East.. one tenant discussed was a Target unless you consider that upscale. .... Also the last time I checked Best Buy isn't considered a "cheaper" store.
Well let me rephrase, some were worried that The Grand might lose possible upscale prospect due to retail developments in the Park East. And no, I don't consider Target upscale. Some in my suburb of Franklin do though, and it pisses me off tremendously. And if Best Buy isn't a cheaper store, then there should be no problems implementing this into The Grand. I for one would have a reason to shop there when I'm downtown. And it's better than a TJMaxx..

Quote:
Also Grand Avenue didn't lose business due to crime, just the perception of crime (and lack of parking). Again.. goes back to marketing.
Well I guess the media could also be blamed for the crime part if that's the case. I didn't think parking was a problem due to the large parking structure in the back of the mall. Although I find paying $5 or whatever it is now to park there is a bit ridiculous.


Quote:
Hmm... filling in the arcade part with a floor? Destroying the whole feeling of the building? The first redesign was bad enough..

Not snubbed, just thought of in a bigger scale and not done just for the sake of having businesses.
Good points made and I'd like to ask: What would you propose for the arcade if you were a developer?
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Old May 4th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #1277
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As I see it there are two ways to dissect the redevelopment plans for the Grand Mall: economic feasibility and design.

From an ecomomic feasibility point of view, I think it makes perfect sense for the owners of the Grand to try to attract mid-box type stores, because this is a niche that is not being filled in downtown Milwaukee right now. Downtown urban big boxes are all the rage in cities across the country right now, big box retailers are "discovering" downtown markets and it makes sense that downtown big box retail would succeed in Milwaukee.

Big box retailers like Best Buy would bring in shoppers who would then walk around the other stores at the Grand and around Downtown as well. While most of us on this forum are drawn to Downtown by the street retail full of smaller unique shops, most people go where there are large, big name stores that they recognize from TV advertising. Having these retailers Downtown would make our Downtown more a "destination" for shoppers, and that would do nothing but help the smaller storefront shops that we all love so much.

From a design point of view, however, the redevelopment plans of the Grand are appallingly bad. They're horrible. They would take all the grandness and uniqueness of the old Plankinton Arcade and turn it into basically a stack of big box stores with a glass roof and rotunda. The proposed Best Buy location on the second floor of the West Section of the mall isn't that bad, but it's still awkward.

Overall, I think it would be tragic for this city to have the historic Plankinton Arcade defaced for the sake of landing a Sports Authority. How about this: tear down the parking deck just south of the Plankinton Arcade, and build a four story building in its place, the first floor comprised of two retail spaces for mid boxes, the top three for parking?
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Old May 4th, 2007, 07:57 PM   #1278
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milwaukeeunseen View Post
As I see it there are two ways to dissect the redevelopment plans for the Grand Mall: economic feasibility and design.

From an ecomomic feasibility point of view, I think it makes perfect sense for the owners of the Grand to try to attract mid-box type stores, because this is a niche that is not being filled in downtown Milwaukee right now. Downtown urban big boxes are all the rage in cities across the country right now, big box retailers are "discovering" downtown markets and it makes sense that downtown big box retail would succeed in Milwaukee.

Big box retailers like Best Buy would bring in shoppers who would then walk around the other stores at the Grand and around Downtown as well. While most of us on this forum are drawn to Downtown by the street retail full of smaller unique shops, most people go where there are large, big name stores that they recognize from TV advertising. Having these retailers Downtown would make our Downtown more a "destination" for shoppers, and that would do nothing but help the smaller storefront shops that we all love so much.

From a design point of view, however, the redevelopment plans of the Grand are appallingly bad. They're horrible. They would take all the grandness and uniqueness of the old Plankinton Arcade and turn it into basically a stack of big box stores with a glass roof and rotunda. The proposed Best Buy location on the second floor of the West Section of the mall isn't that bad, but it's still awkward.

Overall, I think it would be tragic for this city to have the historic Plankinton Arcade defaced for the sake of landing a Sports Authority. How about this: tear down the parking deck just south of the Plankinton Arcade, and build a four story building in its place, the first floor comprised of two retail spaces for mid boxes, the top three for parking?
Good response. I like the option of doing something with the parking structure, and I do admit that the signage above the mall to attract customers is a bit tacky. But all in all, it makes sense. But the tearing down of the parking structure and rebuilding it like you're proposing might lead to increased costs, which in turn might lead this group more for something Milwaukeeians here dread - TIFs!

Also what should the owners do with the arcade?

Last edited by brewcityfan; May 4th, 2007 at 08:04 PM.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 09:24 PM   #1279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan View Post
Good response. I like the option of doing something with the parking structure, and I do admit that the signage above the mall to attract customers is a bit tacky. But all in all, it makes sense. But the tearing down of the parking structure and rebuilding it like you're proposing might lead to increased costs, which in turn might lead this group more for something Milwaukeeians here dread - TIFs!

Also what should the owners do with the arcade?
I don't think anyone on here dreads TIF, so long as it is used for good purposes. Now, everyone's opinion on what a "good purpose" is will vary, but I think that TIF is a fantastic tool.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 10:03 PM   #1280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan
Concerning the Park East, developers wanted upscale shops there. Everyone threw a brew-ha because of fear it would directly compete with the Shops, which I correctly pointed out that the Shops are luring a completely different consumer base than what upscale stores want.
Could you please define what you're going for when you say "developers wanted upscale shops" in the Park East?
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