By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Aug 18, 2009 at 7:30 AM
I've written quite a bit about the Shops of Grand Avenue. Each time I do so, there's a ton of talkback activity generating some good ideas for the Downtown mall.

While many things need to happen to make the space once again truly viable and a buzzing destination, there's news today that a large children's day camp project is looking to lease the former Linens 'N Things and Old Navy spaces. The interactive children's educational camp would be called "Camp Ambitionz City."

Here's what I learned last night from the Shops of Grand Avenue. The project is in initial stages and therefore, details such as legal structure, ownership, feasibility and other matters have not been finalized. Feasibility and success of the project will depend upon participation of community businesses, investors and educational professionals who have yet to be determined.

At the space, children attend a day-long session in order to learn about different careers in fun, simulated settings and by means of taking part in dramatizations of the day-to-day life of a professional in the field, which are developed and guided by experienced educators and in cooperation with actual professionals in the field.

Designs show a courtroom setting where the children might take the role of a judge, attorney, plaintiff, defendant or jury member in order to better understand how the court system works and what lawyers and judges do in their day-to-day lives. Other similar settings are in the development stage.

"We are excited about the possibility of bringing a totally unique, family-oriented project to Downtown Milwaukee and what this means to other tenants in the mall. We hope that this project can become the foundation of a new, exciting era for Downtown Milwaukee and make the downtown area a destination for families and school groups from all over the Midwest," said Erica E. Anderson, Director of Marketing and Specialty Leasing, for The Shops of Grand Avenue.

A variety of consultants have been retained to do preliminary work on the project. Attorney Anne Ertel-Sawasky of Sawasky Law LLC, in Appleton has been retained to act as legal counsel.

Initial thoughts, reactions?  It's an interesting concept with a bad name, in my opinion.  Creative uses and ideas are needed for Milwaukee's Downtown mall, and this is a good step.  Obviously, though, it needs a lot of work and study.

Use the Talkback feature and stay tuned for more details as they are released.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.