By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Mar 18, 2008 at 5:12 AM

Bear with us while explain the concept for this series of articles: we take two seemingly unrelated Milwaukee icons, then pit them against each other in 10 categories. In each category, we assign them points, one through 10, then add them up and name the winner.

No, it's not scientific, but yes, it's fun. How does our hub of highways, the Marquette Interchange, stack up against the newly renovated Bayshore? Read on to find out ...


Marquette Interchange, 3
The original interchange cost a mere $33 million when it was completed in 1968. The redesign, however, is slated to cost $810 million. It's vitally important, but also immensely expensive. On the other hand, it's free to use, unlike toll highways to our south.

Bayshore Town Center, 6
The $300 million renovation came from a combination of a Glendale TIF and private funds. So for Glendale residents, some of the project came from tax funds that will be paid back. For Milwaukee residents, it didn't cost us a dime. In terms of shopping, the mall certainly sports higher-end, more expensive stores than it did before. But it also has your typical, cheap mall fare, from Sears to Kohl's to Rocky Rococco, and is on average, only a little less affordable than your run-of-the-mill mall.

Value to city:

Marquette Interchange, 9
For commerce, you can't really overstate the important of a freeway design like the Marquette Interchange. It connects Milwaukee from points south, north and west. The only thing keeping it from scoring a perfect 10 is that doesn't incorporate mass transit, and like all highways, it forces drives to skip over neighborhoods en route to a destination.

Bayshore Town Center, 1
Bayshore isn't at all valuable to Milwaukee -- except as a shopping destination -- as it's located in Glendale. Instead, it's punch to the gut for anyone who wanted to see Pabst City come to fruition. It actually draws business into the suburbs. For Glendale, it would score a 10, but this series of articles is called the "Milwaukee Face Off."


Marquette Interchange, 10
By the early 2000s, the interchange carried 300,000 vehicles per day. It provided access to 37 percent of the state's jobs. It carried 7 million visitors annually to Downtown destinations. That's pretty popular.

Bayshore Town Center, 7
Bayshore has done a brisk business, with new shops that are one-of-a-kind in the area. Still, it's largely outside design has made winter weather shopping a little challenging.

National name recognition:

Marquette Interchange, 1
Engineers aside, most Americans have no idea what the Marquette Interchange is, and why should they?

Bayshore Town Center, 1
See above, but replace "engineers" with "retailers."


Marquette Interchange, 10
The interchange would be an engineering masterpiece if it had been built from scratch this time around. But considering that it stayed open (despite pesky detours) throughout the entire construction phase, and it's on time and on budget, the project is even more impressive.

Bayshore Town Center, 6
Bayshore looks great in the summer. Unlike any other mall in metro Milwaukee, it sports a convincing "village" feel, and busts out of the mold of Mayfair, Southridge, Brookfield Square and Grand Avenue. But Milwaukee is cold for at least half of the year. In the middle of January, walking outside from store to store is sheer lunacy.


Marquette Interchange, 10
Again, taking a legacy project and retrofitting it for future use took a ton of skill and adaptability. It takes into account a "community sensitive design," and is truly one-of-a-kind.

Bayshore Town Center, 5
Bayshore is very unique for Milwaukee, but nationally, it's following a formula of mall development. Nothing about the experience feels like Milwaukee or Glendale.

Economic value:

Marquette Interchange, 10
The interchange is the circulatory system of commerce in Milwaukee. Locally, it can only be compared to Lake Michigan.

Bayshore Town Center, 4
Again, this question is answered differently for residents of Milwaukee and Glendale. For Milwaukeeans, it provides jobs, but also takes them away. For Glendale, it's an economic boon. But remember, this is the "Milwaukee Face Off." Economically, arguably Bayshore hurts Milwaukee a little more than it helps.

Convenience factor:

Marquette Interchange, 1
Right now, at 84 percent completion, the Marquette Interchange is a giant pain in the butt. Check back in nine months and expect its score to go way up.

Bayshore Town Center, 6
It's easy to get to Bayshore, and with a free parking lot, access is relatively easy. Street parking is a little harder to get to, and with its sprawling layout, a surgical shopping strike is less likely than at your old-fashioned mall.


Marquette Interchange, 6
Completed in 1968 for half of today's traffic, the Marquette Interchange is rather long in the tooth. Originally called the Central Interchange, it was first proposed in 1952.

Bayshore Town Center, 8
As malls go, Bayshore has been around forever. Originally an outdoor strip mall, built in 1954, it was converted into an enclosed mall in 1974.

Quality of product:

Marquette Interchange, 5
It remains to be seen. Will the projections hold up or will the interchange become a traffic snarl that commuters will despise?

Bayshore Town Center, 7
A mall is only as good as its stores and its layout. The mall has plenty of great stores and an interesting layout that works better when the weather is warm.

Marquette Interchange, 65
Bayshore Town Center, 51

Winner: Marquette Interchange

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.