The redeveloping former Grand Avenue continues to draw prospective office tenants, has just opened its new apartments — and might be landing a child care center.
Those new details were revealed by one of the downtown Milwaukee project’s developers during a Tuesday commercial real estate event.
Now known as The Avenue, the redeveloped buildings will include 3rd Street Market Hall, a food hall on the former mall’s first floor, as well as offices on the second and third floors.
The Avenue’s developers in December announced plans for the food hall. They also announced that Graef USA, an engineering, planning and design firm, will move to the third floor — anchoring the office space.
Along with Graef, which is leasing around 35,000 square feet, The Avenue has additional businesses that have signed letters of intent to lease another 75,000 square feet, said co-developer Josh Krsnak.
If those prospects sign leases, that would leave only around 25,000 to 30,000 square feet of office space to fill on those upper floors.
“It’s moving in the right direction,” Krsnak said at the Commercial Association of Realtors-Wisconsin’s Commercial Roundtable Forum. That event draw over 100 people to the Italian Community Center.
Krsnak, president of Minneapolis-based Hempel Cos., and Tony Janowiec, who operates Interstate Development Partners LLC, are partners in The Avenue, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.
They are working with Omar Shaikh, of Surg Restaurant Group LLC, to create 3rd Street Market Hall. It will have over 20 vendors, most of which have signed letters of intent to lease space there.
Those food hall tenants will generally have leases of less than five years, Krsnak said.
Typically, developers want tenants that sign longer leases. But, with a food hall, shorter leases make more sense, he said.
“We want to have tenants who are active,” Krsnak said. “If someone’s on a five-year lease and their brand kind of runs its course, that can kind of paralyze things.”
Graef will move to The Avenue in January, with 3rd Street Market Hall to open by late 2019 or early 2020, he said.
Prospective tenants want child care
The food hall will help attract office tenants — as would a child care center, Krsnak said.
“A lot of the tenants want on-site day care,” he said.
So, The Avenue’s developers are in discussions with a child care center operator that might lease space on the first floor.
None of the prospective tenants’ names are being disclosed unless they sign leases.
Meanwhile, the 52-unit Plankinton Clover apartments, on the second floor of The Avenue’s historic Plankinton Arcade, have started opening.
The first tenants, including Krsnak, have moved into the apartments, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave.
The Avenue also includes space converted into a fitness center, events room and other amenities for both the apartment and office tenants, as well as first-floor offices for Bublr Bikes and the Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District.
Another 20,000-square-foot space on the Plankinton Arcade’s first floor is still available. The developers hope to attract a grocery store to that spot, Krsnak said.