Once crumbling shopping plaza reborn as Golden Gate Centre
Grand opening Oct. 4

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

Sept. 26, 2014

The Golden Gate Centre is now fully occupied.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Paul Moy’s Golden Gate Restaurant has been a part of the Gray Terrace Shopping Centre on East Racine Avenue in Waukesha for more than 30 years. So when the plaza went into foreclosure five years ago, he did the only thing he could think of to keep his spot: he bought the whole thing.

After more than four years of deconstructing, renovating and repairing, Moy will host a grand opening and open house of the newly-renamed Golden Gate Centre on Oct. 4.

Moy said it was a difficult and sometimes scary process over the years getting the plaza back into top shape.

“We fixed it all up - replaced all the roofs, changed all the windows, the doors, re-did the parking lot, re-did the bricks, fixed it all up - and then we started renting it out,” he said.

The center features a number of businesses already including Moy’s restaurant, the Waukesha Antique Mall, JoMar Flowers and Gifts, Data Logic Systems, JohnRat Screen Printing and Forever Faded.

Next Saturday’s festivities will showcase three new businesses at the center: a branch of Farmer’s Insurance, Rejuvenate massage therapy and the Phoenix Salon - an appropriate name for a business in a center that has been torn down and built back up again.

Phoenix will feature 12 individual hair stylists as well as a tanning salon.

The Gray Terrace was originally built in 1963 as the first shopping center in Waukesha outside the downtown area. It featured a grocery store, a pharmacy and restaurants, but Moy said it fell into disrepair in the 1980s. And as other shopping malls opened in the area, the Gray Terrace’s client list dwindled to just two by the late 2000s.

That’s when Moy stepped in.

“The shopping center was going under, it was under foreclosure,” he said. “We are a Chinese restaurant that has been here for 34 years and we didn’t want to move, so we ended up buying it.”

The kickoff event Oct. 4 is scheduled from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. It will feature a ribbon-cutting with Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly and state Sen. Paul Farrow, as well as traditional Chinese lion dancing performed by the ShaoLin Centre. Food, beverages and door prizes will also be available.

After his years of hard work, Moy said he is not the only one glad to see the long rebuild completed.

“The bank is happy,” he joked, “they get their mortgage.”

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Email: mmasterson@conleynet.com