Brookfield of tomorrow taking shape today
Corridor, other development coming to city in months ahead

By Chris Bennett - Special to The Freeman

Dec. 14, 2015

 The access road into The Corridor in Brookfield has been paved and is ready for construction traffic.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

BROOKFIELD - One of the biggest stories of 2015 in Brookfield broke on Nov. 19 when Brookfield-based Milwaukee Electric Tool announced an expansion of its headquarters and up to an additional 500 jobs.

Aside from that, the story in the city of Brookfield right now is development, and a lot of it. Mayor Steve Ponto readily refers to a PowerPoint presentation of almost 50 slides when detailing the development either taking place or slated to come in the city.

Development and its effect on the landscape is easily Brookfield’s biggest story of 2015 and the issue that will likely define the community in 2016. There are multiple projects in the works, and some create their own buzz.

“The social media frenzy almost eclipsed the social media frenzy when Trader Joe’s and Chick-fil-A opened,” Brookfield Director of Development Daniel Ertl said of the announcement that Chicago-based hot dog stand Portillo’s would open a location in Brookfield. “When you strive to hit people in their palates and stomachs, you hit social media awareness.”

Trader Joe’s opened in 2012 at 12665 W. Bluemound Road. Chick-fil-A opened in September 2014 near 124th and Capitol Drive and set a company sales record over its first three days in business.

 

In The Corridor and beyond

Portillo’s announced its Brookfield location in early October. It will be located on Bluemound Road, west of Calhoun Road at The Shoppes at The Corridor.

“There’s a lot coming down the road with the Corridor,” Ponto said. “I think it’s off to a great start, and a lot more will be evident in 2016. That will be very exciting.”

Irgens, a Milwaukee-based real estate developer, broke ground on The Corridor in July. The Corridor is a 66-acre mixed-use development just south of Bluemound Road across from Brownstones Shopping Center, 17500 W. Bluemound Road.

The Shoppes at The Corridor will be anchored by Dick’s Sporting Goods and feature more than 130,000 square feet of retail space.

The Corridor Corporate & Technology Park and renovation and repurposing of the Ruby House Farm are also key components of the overall development.

According to Irgens, when fully developed The Corridor, is projected to bring more than $142 million in development value to Brookfield, with a potential property tax impact of more than $2 million and the possibility of more than $300,000 in hotel room taxes.

The Corridor is projected to create more than 500 construction jobs and more than 3,000 permanent jobs in retail, health care, hospitality and other office industries. Construction will continue into 2016.

“It really has to be managed well,” Ponto said. “Brookfield has very high standards, which has proven to be a real asset.”

Brookfield Square, a long-time asset to the city, welcomed a location of the Madison-based University Bookstore on Nov. 14.

University Bookstore opened near Sears, and will be joined soon by three restaurants - Blackfinn Ameripub, Mooyah Burgers and Jason’s Deli. Room exists for another business in the 200,000-foot expansion. Construction is slated to last through 2018.

Plaza 173, at Bluemound and Calhoun roads, is being rejuvenated and reimagined as Calhoun Crossing, and is set to open late in 2016. The development will be anchored by Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market.

The city is also working to create awareness for industrial opportunities within its borders. A rebranding initiative in 2015 led to the 124th Street Commercial District, and more opportunity abounds.

“When you think of Brookfield, you think of outstanding, high-end retail and maybe some high-end houses and Brookfield Square,” Ertl said. “We have 4 million square feet of industrial space.”