After putting together a design team to look at ways to transform The Shops of Grand Avenue, the property's owners – Milwaukee’s Aggero Group and Minneapolis’ Hempel Companies, who purchased the mall last year – today released a series of renderings showing ways the mall could be converted into a mix of large office spaces, retail – including a grocery store – and more.
"Given the size of the property, the development lends itself uniquely to satisfy several market demands," Tony Janowiec, principal of the Aggero Group, said in a statement issued with the renderings, created by The Kubala Washatko Architects.
"The property’s large, contiguous floorplates, high ceiling heights, mostly column free space, and its expansive glass roof structure allow for an unprecedented office experience for the large corporate users. In addition, the growing residential density in the neighborhood, including a lack of fresh food options near the Marquette campus, make a grocery store a natural solution. The urban marketplace allows for the best of Milwaukee’s retail and restaurant experiences to coexist while creating a sense of place and welcoming for every Westown patron."
The team included TKWA UrbanLab, Colliers International, Mid America Real Estate Group and NEWaukee, which celebrates YP Week this week.
"There are few locations in the city of Milwaukee where the whole community can feel a sense of belonging," said NEWaukee CEO Angela Damiani in the statement. "Our vision for the development is grand. We believe the property will be Milwaukee’s next must-see destination, where the lines of community and commerce are blended naturally and easily."
The renderings suggest a complete makeover of the main entrance at 3rd and Wisconsin, removal of the elevator inside that entrance, the location of a grocery store in the old Linens 'n Things space in the Plankinton Arcade, an alley marketplace outdoors and more. Here are the renderings...
1. Grocery store in the Plankinton Arcade
2. Grocery store in the Plankinton Arcade, looking west
3. Urban marketplace, elevator removed
4. Urban marketplace, looking west from 2nd Street entrance
5. Alley marketplace, off Wisconsin, between 2nd and 3rd Streets
6. Large office use
7. Large office use
8. New 3rd Street entrance
9. New 3rd Street entrance, looking out toward Wisconsin Avenue
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.