Brookfield area having new-business boom 
Major developments like The Corners, future mall revitalization adding to upsurge 


BY HANNAH WEIKEL - Freeman Staff

Feb. 3, 2018

       

Along with The Corners, nine other retailers and restaurants opened in the Brookfield area and five hotels completed renovations during 2017. Officials say the business growth will continue.

Freeman file photo

 

BROOKFIELD — With the opening of 22 new businesses at The Corners of Brookfield last year and a major redevelopment of Brookfield Square Mall’s south end on the horizon, the Brookfield area is seeing a boom in new business and construction projects.

Brookfield officials say the prime location and demographics greatly contribute to the growing number of businesses interested in opening in the area. Directly off Interstate 94 just outside of Milwaukee with many residents garnering aboveaverage wages, Brookfield is “really appealing to developers,” said Visit Brookfield President and CEO Nancy Justman.

“From a hospitality standpoint, we’ve certainly seen a lot of restaurants open and a lot of retail,” Justman said. “Hotels, we’ve absolutely seen an increase in the supply of hotels in our market.” The opening of shopping destination The Corners in the Town of Brookfield was the biggest development the area has seen in a long time, Justman said. Soon, the city plans to build an expansive conference center and hotel in the Brookfield Square parking lot, expected to bring in many more tourists

and visitors each year. Detailed information about the economic impact of the mall redevelopment will be available in May, she said.

Meanwhile, and aside from a couple major developments, city officials have been offering and adapting programs that incentivize individual businesses opening in Brookfield, said city Economic Development Coordinator Todd Willis.

        

The Corners of Brookfield opened last year, bringing 22 new businesses to the area. It was the biggest commercial development the Brookfield area has seen in a long time.

Freeman file photo

 

Earlier this week, Milwaukee Tool was given initial approval from the city for its request to open a new tax increment district around their Brookfield headquarters. The new TIF will allow construction of a new research and development building, for which the city has pledged about $3.5 million.

“We are a pro-business community. It’s something Brookfield really prides itself on,” Willis said.

Another incentives program called the Brookfield Development Loan Fund has in the past offered up to $25,000 loans to businesses looking to expand, relocate or simply buy a new piece of equipment, Willis said.

In the last few months that program has been rewritten, adjusting the cap to $50,000. It will be reviewed and approved by Brookfield Common Council next week.

“Business is definitely not stagnant here,” Willis said. “There’s stuff happening all over. In the first part of 2018 I’ve seen more growth than I had this far into 2017.”

Willis works with businesses of all sizes interested in coming to Brookfield. He helps them find a space, channels of financing and eases them through the city’s building inspection process, he said.

“I have people calling me all the time,” he said.

Jovana Cubric, vice president of operations at Fiddleheads Coffee Roasters, is one of those people.

Fiddleheads is seeking to open its sixth location in an up-and-coming district called the Village of Brookfield. Cubric said the company hopes to purchase and relocate the historic train station building at Brookfield and Fairview avenues to the village.

Cubric said they are looking at the old train station building because the company has enjoyed taking defunct structures, making them usable and opening them again to the public.

“We love the communities that we work with. Brookfield is the type of community that is very closely connected with their local businesses,” Cubric said. “The city seems to care about the community and bringing in businesses that would be good for the people living there.”

Though Fiddleheads hopes to take the old and make it new again, Willis said fresh construction in Brookfield is really growing.

In 2015 and 2016, there was more than $130 million of net new construction growth in Brookfield and much more is expected in the next several years, he said.