FINALIZED: Shops of Grand Avenue purchased by New York-based real estate investment firm

MILWAUKEE (WITI) – The sale of The Shops of Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee has been finalized.  The 293,596-square-foot enclosed mall was purchased by Alliance Capital Invest, a New York-based real estate investment firm.

The Shops of Grand Avenue's General Manager Courtney Groff says the new owner’s first order of business will be to reach out to local stakeholders over the next 30-45 days to gain insight into 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,” Groff said.

Dan Rosenfeld, principal for Mid-America Real Estate-Wisconsin, a retail only brokerage and management company, feels that the new owner’s vision for the property is in line with what the local stakeholders have been talking about.

“Capital Invest Alliance recognizes that the Plankinton Building needs to be revitalized and repurposed. 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,” Rosenfeld said.

Mid-America made the decision to hire the office leasing firm of RFP Commercial and will also be retaining an architect to explore creative ways to introduce new uses for at least a portion of the Plankinton Building.

Since coming on board 2 ½ years ago as its asset manager, Mid-America has been on task to shift gears at The Shops of Grand Avenue to better serve young professionals in the downtown business community, while at the same retaining the strong alliances it has with Westown.

“Our focus going forward will be finding a co-tenant for the former Linens ‘N Things space. 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," Rosenfeld said.

“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," Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld points to the purported growth of some residential areas and the new stadium plans for downtown that call for a mixed-use strategy for the property.

“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,” Rosenfeld said.

According to Groff, many of the mall’s tenants have indicated optimism about the future of The Shops of Grand Avenue. Over the past 12 months, T.J.Maxx, Walgreens and the majority of food court tenants have secured leases and long-term commitments.

Delia Luna, owner of 9Round, one of the mall’s newest tenants, says, “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.”