By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Nov 19, 2014 at 5:30 PM

The sale of the 293,596-square foot Shops of Grand Avenue to Alliance Capital Invest was finalized today according to the mall's general manager Courtney Groff.

Alliance Capital Invest purchased the mall for $16.5 million at auction last month.

In a statement released this afternoon, Groff said the New York-based real estate investment firm plans to seek input from local stakeholders within the next month or two in an effort to gauge the needs of the downtown Milwaukee community.

"They hope to get input from and possibly collaborate with Westown Association, Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee Development Corp. (WAM DC), City of Milwaukee and Visit Milwaukee," said Groff in the release.

WAM DC also bid for the mall during the last month's auction but lost out to Alliance. 

In the statement, Mid-America Real Estate-Wisconsin principal Dan Rosenfeld said he expects the new owner's vision to match what those local stakeholders envision for the mall. Mid-America has been the mall's asset manager for two and a half years.

"Capital Invest Alliance recognizes that the Plankinton Building needs to be revitalized and repurposed," Rosenfeld said. "In an effort to broaden our reach and expand our marketing efforts so as to make sure we are capturing all user possibilities, we started building a team prior to closing."

RFP Commercial has been retained to by Mid-America, which also plans to hire an architectural firm to reenvision "at least a portion" of the Plankinton Building.

"Our focus going forward will be finding a co-tenant for the former Linens ‘N Things space," said Rosenfeld. "This user locating across from T.J.Maxx could take the form of another retailer, an office user, or a specialty user such as a school and educational facility. It calls for an open-minded approach about the best use of the Plankinton Building, and I truly feel that we’re moving in a positive direction for this property and for the community it serves.

"Alliance Capital Invest appreciates the history of The Shops of Grand Avenue and understands the hurdles and challenges facing the property. They’re ready to embrace the challenge and devote the necessary resources needed to attract and retain the right users, in addition to marketing and continuing the capital improvement program we started."

Delia Luna, owner of 9Round, said she's excited about new ownership.

"I’m more than excited to welcome the new owner and the changes they have planned for The Shops of Grand Avenue. This area is the heart of Milwaukee, and revival is needed."

The statement did not address discussions of locating a new arena adjacent to the mall and potentially razing at least two structures connected to the shopping center.