Southridge project will include renovations throughout mall, along with new Macy's

Published on: 5/23/2011

My colleague Doris Hajewski broke the news earlier this morning that Southridge Mall's new Macy's department store anchor will open in about a year, filling most of the former Younkers space on the mall's southern end.

Here are some more details from a news conference being held right now at the mall by executives from Simon Property Group Inc., the mall's operator, and Macy's.

Macy's 150,000-square-foot store will be on portions of the ground floor and second floor of the former Younkers building, which now is largely vacant.

Cost Plus World Market, the only store operating in the Younkers space, is leaving Southridge, Doris reported earlier, quoting a confidential source. It's not known yet where, or whether, it will relocate.

Other renovations will include a redesign of the mall entrances, along with updated signs and landscaping; improvements to the food court, including new flooring, ceiling, lighting and seating; a renovation of the play area next to the food court; new tile flooring and carpeting throughout the mall, and a redesign of Southridge's common areas, with improved ceilings, finishes and lighting.

"It is something that is going to transform the mall," said Patrick Basche, Southridge general manager.

The work starts this month. Macy's will open in spring 2012.

The announcement's timing coincides with the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas. Simon is recruiting retail tenants at the convention, and those efforts will be helped by Macy's commitment to open a store at Southridge.

There will be upcoming announcements about new restaurants at three mall entrances, Basche said.

This will be Macy's second store in the Milwaukee area. The department store chain has operated at Mayfair Mall since 2006, after acquiring the Marshall Field's chain and rebranding those stores under the Macy's name.

The $52.5 million renovation plan for Southridge was announced in November. Real estate industry sources were soon saying that the plan included a Macy's anchor store. 

The Greendale Village Board in December approved a 25.5-acre tax incremental financing district for the Southridge site. The total estimated costs for the village will be $15.85 million, including $10 million provided to Simon, and $5 million in interest expenses for borrowing the money.

All the village's costs will be repaid within an estimated 15 years by property taxes on the improvements at Southridge. Once that debt is paid off, the property taxes from the improvements will flow to the village, its school district and other local governments.

When the plan was announced, it was expected that the new anchor store would be open in time for the holiday shopping season this fall. But the timetable stalled for reasons that have not been disclosed.

The 210,000-square-foot former Younkers space was nearly filled in 2005 with three retailers, but two of the stores -- Linens 'n Things and Steve & Barry's -- closed in recent years.

Check back at JSOnline.com later Monday, and in Tuesday's Journal Sentinel, for more information.

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