The Avenue (Milwaukee)

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The Avenue
Shops of Grand Avenue.jpg
Inside The Avenue
Location275 West Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Opening date1982
OwnerInterstate Development Partners and Hempel Companies
No. of stores and services80+
No. of anchor tenants2
Total retail floor area367,968 square feet (34,185.3 m2) [1]
No. of floors3

The Avenue (until December 2018 previous known as the Shops of Grand Avenue) is an urban shopping plaza that spans three city blocks in the downtown neighborhood of Westown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Avenue is the only major indoor shopping facility in the city of Milwaukee proper with the closing of Capitol Court in 2000 [2] and the Northridge Mall in 2009 due to competition from newly renovated malls in nearby suburbs.


The Shops of Grand Avenue opened in 1982 and hosted over 80 specialty stores, along with what was at one time the largest food court in Wisconsin.[3]

The shopping center was named after a bustling merchant street during the 19th century, Grand Avenue (present day Wisconsin Avenue). A main portion of The Shops of Grand Avenue encompasses the former Plankinton Arcade with many of its original features still intact including the statue of John Plankinton in the center of the circular atrium. The Arcade replaced the Plankinton House Hotel on the same site.

Grand Avenue was opened during a time when many downtown retail centers in major cities were shutting down. It has avoided these problems by relying on locally owned shops that cater to the "urban" tastes of the nearby populace, in addition to the national chain-stores it houses such as T.J. Maxx and its anchor Boston Store. Because of limited street/surface parking, an adjacent south ramp provides hourly fee parking, costs heavily offset by mall purchase validation.

At one time, the mall also featured Marshall Field's (Gimbels until 1986) on the east edge of the mall, but the location closed in 1997. The building that housed it, now ASQ Center, is still connected to The Avenue by a skywalk and features a Residence Inn, although it is not technically part of The Avenue. With the east addition of the downtown YMCA, their circling walking track has views down to Grand Plankinton Concourse through skylights.

TJ Maxx and Linens 'n Things were added in 2002.[4]

In 2005, New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp purchased The Shops of Grand Avenue for $31.7 million[5]. Due to the economic downfall and its impact on the Milwaukee metropolitan area, by 2009 the mall had lost many key tenants. In 2012 the mall was foreclosed upon and was put up for auction in October of 2013[6]. New York based real estate firm Alliance Capital Invest won with a final bid of $16.5 million. After struggling to improve performance, the mall was sold to a local ownership group for $24.6 million in December of 2015[5].

On December 6th 2018 new plans for the existing space were announced as well as granting the space its new name The Avenue. The former third floor food court will become office space for GRAEF-USA Incorporated. A new food hall will open on the ground floor named 3rd Street Market Hall late in 2019. In addition, the 52 unit Plankinton Clover Apartments will replace some of the former retail space[7].



  1. ^ "The Shops of Grand Avenue - Milwaukee, WI Mall and Shopping Center".
  2. ^ "Capitol Court, 1951-2000". Milwaukee County Historical Society. 22 February 2011.
  3. ^ The Shops of Grand Avenue, Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau, Retrieved May 27, 2008.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Shops of Grand Avenue sold for $24.6 million".
  6. ^ "New owners ponder new uses for Shops of Grand Avenue". BizTimes Media Milwaukee. 8 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Plans unveiled for Grand Avenue transformation". BizTimes Media Milwaukee. 6 December 2018.

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Coordinates: 43°02′20″N 87°54′51″W / 43.038764°N 87.914168°W / 43.038764; -87.914168