A 45,000-square-foot Whole
Foods will serve as an anchor for The Mayfair
Collection in Wauwatosa once built.
WAUWATOSA - Developers are increasingly
finding their way into the hearts of shoppers through
the use of strategically placed restaurants and high-end
grocery stores in their retail or mixed-use
Brenton Schrader, retail leasing director
for HSA Commercial Real Estate, said that two major
developments he is working on in metro Milwaukee will
have significant food-centric businesses, including
Whole Foods in The Mayfair Collection and Fresh Thyme
Farmers Market in Plaza 173 in Brookfield.
Restaurants and grocery stores provide
seven-day-a-week traffic for retail centers, as well as
during all hours of the day, which in turn can lure in
Brookfield Community Development Director
Dan Ertl said it’s also often the food that people
remember best about their shopping experience.
Ertl said the retail development industry
has been focusing on including “big E” and “small e”
components in order to bring in customers. The “big E”
refers to sporting, music and theater venues. Increasing
in popularity are “small e” businesses, such as coffee
shops and restaurants.
A Fresh Thyme
Farmers Market grocery store will attract shoppers
to the Plaza 173 strip mall in Brookfield at
different times of day, every day.
“There is an interest in keeping shoppers
on the property in terms of the ‘little e,’” Ertl said.
In Brookfield, strip malls have included
food-centric businesses such as The Oilerie in the CVS
Plaza and more restaurants and a Fresh Market at
Brookfield Square Mall.
restaurants to grocery stores and back again
In Plaza 173 in Brookfield, which will be
rebranded Calhoun Crossing, Schrader said a Fresh Thyme
grocery store focusing on fresh produce and flowers will
be a draw for shoppers. Backed by Meijer, the Fresh
Thyme in Brookfield will be the first in the state, he
Having a grocery store in a development,
such as The Mayfair Collection, serves the residents
living in the development or nearby, as well as draws in
shoppers who may decide to go to other stores not
included on their grocery list.
In terms of The Mayfair Collection, which
is being rebranded The District, Schrader said they were
having a hard time attracting a residential developer
until a 45,000-square-foot Whole Foods was announced.
“That really was a game-changer for us,”
Schrader said. “Then all of the residential developers
began to line up.”
Once built, the Whole Foods will provide
daily-needs traffic to The Mayfair Collection.
“Whole Foods is going to keep them coming
in from day to day or week to week unlike any other
store would,” Schrader said.
Another big name locally that The Mayfair
Collection is working with on three restaurant concepts
is the Bartolotta Restaurants group. The plans include a
contemporary diner concept with drive-thru service and a
menu with brats, Italian beef, salads and sandwiches. A
Bartolotta-run gastropub and casual French bistro are
being discussed as well.
Also located in The Mayfair Collection is
Wisconsin’s first Corner Bakery. A second Pizza Man
location is anticipated to open at the end of May.
“What we had anticipated with all of the
national brands that we were going to bring in on the
retail side was that we would have a conventional
national lineup of restaurants,” Schrader said. “What we
came to find is the national restaurants haven’t
historically done well catering to the Milwaukee market.
What we ultimately decided was national restaurants just
weren’t a good fit for us.”
With Milwaukee’s increasingly vibrant
local restaurant scene, Schrader said the focus turned
to tapping into its potential.
“These three exciting concepts are going
to draw people into the shopping center,” Schrader said.
“It’s really about driving traffic.”
As a mixed-use development with
residences, restaurants will also be “fabulous walk-to
amenities,” he said.
The Corners in the Town of Brookfield
will have luxury apartments created by Milwaukee’s
Mandel Group, while The Corridor on the former Ruby Farm
in Brookfield will have office and medical facilities.
Preliminary renderings for The Corridor showed unnamed
restaurants near the Bluemound Road entrance. In The
Corners, a Colectivo coffee shop and café was one of the
first tenants announced.
As Sears’ end of Brookfield Square Mall
gets a revamping with additional storefronts,
restaurants are also part of the plan, Ertl said.
‘Bringing in energy’
Chef Michael Feker, who owns Zesti in
Hartland and Il Mito in Wauwatosa, said he is interested
in using his past development experience again as a
consultant or in opening a restaurant in one of the new
Feker said he came to Wisconsin from Los
Angeles when his family bought Rainbow Springs in
Mukwonago and he handled the food aspect of the
business. He was also involved in the business’s
eventual sale to the Department of Natural Resources.
Feker’s brother remains involved in development in
Florida and the Carolinas.
“Developers are always looking at
bringing in energy and restaurants are always bringing
energy,” Feker said.
There is also much that a developer and
restaurateur must take into consideration when creating
the right match, such as who makes up the surrounding
market, the access points for diners and the atmosphere
and occupants of the retail center.