MADISON – Some urban and suburban kiosks are revived through remodeling that adds comfort, but this approach cannot succeed in smaller Wisconsin markets where distressed malls have a harder time back to life.
Brookfield Square in the suburb of Milwaukee will have a cinema tavern and Whirlyball game arena at the end of the year, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The mall has been back since anchor stores Sears and Boston Store again in 2018. "Consumers are starting to look for more entertainment and experience focused retail," said Stacey Keating, spokesman for Chattanooga, Tennessee-based CBL Properties, which owns Brookfield Square.
Urban and suburban malls are likely to return, while rural malls continue to struggle, said Garrick Brown, a national retail researcher with Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate company. Adding homes or medical centers can help make placements viable.
"It's really how the rest of the world has done shopping malls, mainly because their economies have always been a little poor and you had to crochet your efforts," Brown said. . "I believe in the future, that's the safest bet."
Mayor Robert Mielke, Wausau, said he would love to see the Wausau Center Mall transformed into a mixed-use development with homes and office space as well as the shops. Plans to add a cinema to the property fell through in 2017.
"It's still a special building, but like many other communities we try to find a way to rework it," Mielke said. "Right now there is a wait and see as far as the owners in Florida will do."