Shops of Grand Avenue
Inside the Shops of Grand Avenue
|Location||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States|
|Management||Mid-America Real Estate Group|
|Total retail floor area||367,968 square feet (34,185.3 m2) |
The Shops of Grand Avenue (colloquially referred to as "Grand Avenue" or simply "The Grand") is an urban shopping plaza that spans three city blocks in the downtown neighborhood of Westown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Shops of Grand Avenue is the only major indoor shopping facility in the city of Milwaukee proper with the closing of Capitol Court, Southgate Mall and Northridge Mall in recent years due to competition from newly renovated malls in nearby suburbs.
It opened in 1982 and hosted over 80 specialty stores, along with the largest food court in Wisconsin.
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 Grand 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.
The Grand 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 Grand Avenue by a skywalk and features a Residence Inn, although it is not technically part of The Shops of Grand Avenue. With the east addition of the downtown YMCA, their circling walking track has views down to Grand Plankinton Concourse thru skylights.
Due to the economic downfall and its impact on the Milwaukee metropolitan area, the mall has lost many tenants. This has led to local speculation regarding the mall's demise or potential renovation should the mall eventually find interested investors. In May 2014 it was announced that the property would be put up for auction with a starting bid price of $4.75 million.
The rotunda of the Plankinton Arcade
- The Shops of Grand Avenue, Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau, Retrieved May 27, 2008.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Grand Avenue needs a makeover, Retrieved August 26, 2010.
- WUWM, Want to Buy Grand Avenue Mall? Auction Bids Start at $4.75 Million, Retrieved May 15, 2014.