Grand Design: Can Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue mall survive as a retail center?

By Kay Nolan,  November 2014

Milwaukee’s Downtown mall, the Shops of Grand Avenue, describes itself as a historical landmark. But unlike other highly visible city landmarks – the Calatravadesigned Milwaukee Art Museum or the steel-domed Miller Park – the little-advertised mall seems in danger of becoming more of an urban legend than a destination.

Adding insult to injury are the various proposals to tear down Boston Store, or the entire mall, to make room for a sports and entertainment arena.

Once heralded as the key to reviving Downtown, the 32-year-old mall struggles, despite an overhaul that added offices, apartments and a YMCA.

All downtown malls aren’t dying, according to Carl Landis of CBL & Associates Properties, which owns malls across the country, including Brookfield Square. “It depends on the city,” he says.