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Rebuilding Shorewood

Photos by Dan Bishop

March 2013

The village of Shorewood is reinventing its business district with a series of mixed-use developments. The landlocked community that encompasses one square mile on Milwaukee’s North Shore began buying parcels and razing buildings along Oakland Avenue in 2005 in hopes of attracting new retail projects and residents.

"Shorewood’s commercial district needed to be rebuilt with an urban sensibility, which means mixed-use buildings," says Jim Plaisted, executive director of the Shorewood Business Improvement District.

Already, it seems the village’s ambitious plan is paying off. Recent mixed-use developments like the Cornerstone and the Ravenna at the north end of Shorewood have attracted new businesses and increased foot traffic. The success of those projects is also spurring new growth on the south end of the village.

"The development projects on Shorewood’s north end have dramatically transformed the village," says Plaisted. "They’re changing how people who live here are engaging in their community."

Following its completion in 2010, the Cornerstone, a four-story, mixed-used building developed by WiRED Properties, quickly attracted business and residents. In less than six months, all 25 apartments and 11,000 square feet of retail space had been leased.

Last fall, WiRED Properties completed another four-story, mixed-use development across the street from the Cornerstone. The Ravenna has 20 apartments and 8,100 square feet of retail space, which is 100 percent leased.

Among the shops and restaurants to transform Shorewood’s north end into a thriving retail center are:

• Alterra (500 N. Oakland Ave.) opened in December 2010. Located in the Cornerstone building, the Shorewood location is the Milwaukee-based coffee roaster’s 10th cafe. It features free Wi-Fi and a full café food menu.

• Thief Wine Shop and Bar (4512 N. Oakland Ave.) is a more contemporary, relaxed version of its bustling Milwaukee Public Market locale. The fine wine shop and bar carries more than 600 artisanal wines from classic and emerging regions all over the world.

• Catering to women of all ages, Boutique B’lou (4508 N. Oakland Ave.) carries professional attire, sportswear and fashions for special occasions.

• After 10 years in Whitefish Bay, Elements East moved to the recently completed Ravenna building (4529 N. Oakland Ave.). Specializing in art, furniture and other accessories from Asia, the eclectic shop opened over Thanksgiving weekend.

• Indulgence Chocolatiers (4525 N. Oakland Ave.) opened its chocolate boutique here in November. With locally handcrafted chocolates in unique flavor combinations, monthly tasting and pairing classes, and a knowledgeable staff, the store is a destination for chocolate enthusiasts all over Milwaukee.

• Performance Running Outfitters (4533 N. Oakland Ave.) doubled in size when it moved from its former Shorewood location in late 2012. The larger space features an 80-foot indoor synthetic track and expanded inventory, including children’s shoes.

• North Star American Bistro (4518 N. Oakland Ave.) moved to its new location in October 2010. The popular upscale eatery focuses on classic American comfort foods with a twist.

• Three Lions Pub (4515 N. Oakland Ave.) opened in February 2011. The British-style tavern sets an authentic scene with Victorianesque lighting, a roaring fireplace and traditional English dishes like bangers and mash and fish-and-chips.

• NaNa Asian Fusion (4511 N. Oakland Ave.) opened in November 2011. The budget-friendly sushi restaurant and bar features an Asian menu with Japanese and Thailand influences.

• Yo Mama! (4521 N. Oakland Ave.) will open in March, with 10 flavors of frozen yogurt and a broad selection of toppings.



This story ran in the March 2013 issue of: