By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 14, 2022 at 10:01 AM

When Boston Store closed in Downtown Milwaukee in 2018, Milwaukee lost its last big Wisconsin Avenue retailer.

Now it appears to be getting one back, albeit on a smaller scale.

Reports have suggested that Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s will open a smaller-former department store in 38,000 square feet of the former Boston Store.

An official announcement is expected Friday.

Even though parts of the old Boston Store complex have been converted into apartments and office space in recent years, the first floor – now part of a development called HUB 640 remains available.

You can read an in-depth look at HUB 640 and the former Boston Store complex, with many images, here.

In recent years, everyone has seemed to think that Target would open somewhere Downtown, either in the Park East corridor or in a space like HUB 640. But when a Target recently opened in Bayshore, effectively ringing Downtown with locations (Bayshore, Miller Park Way and Bay View, it seemed less likely another would be coming soon.

Now it looks like it’s the hometown company that’s getting here first. Hopefully, it will spark other retailers of all sizes to follow.

According to reports, Kohl’s is taking about two-thirds of the 60,000-square-foot first floor at the former Boston Store. One would assume that space would face Wisconsin Avenue and open into the 3rd Street Market Hall that’s now occupying part of the old Grand Avenue Mall.

While the average Kohl’s store is about twice as large, the new Milwaukee store would be part of a trend at the department store of opening more compact stores in the coming years.

Adding a Kohl’s directly across from the expanding convention center and a few blocks from the Deer District, the MSO’s Bradley Symphony Center and the recently announced Iron District development, plus the soon-to-open Milwaukee Tool offices might bring some more retail back to the city’s original shopping destination.

All of those developments, along with previously existing venues like The Riverside, Turner Hall, the Hilton and others, also suggest the time is more than ripe for that much-discussed streetcar extension along Vel Phillips Avenue.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.