The overhaul of Brookfield Square’s southeast corner continued to
take shape Monday, following a panel’s recommendation to proceed
with a proposal to raze most of the existing Sears building.
The city Plan
Commission recommended a series of preliminary details linked to the
current 29acre Sears parcel. The proposal, which advances to the
Common Council, reconfigures how the land beneath the existing
department store space will be used in the future.
Sears owned its
building separately from the rest of the mall up until early this
year when it was sold to Brookfield Square owner CBL Properties,
based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The department store has continued
operations in its existing footprint through a leaseback agreement.
year, Sears will drastically shrink its existing footprint of about
160,000 square feet down to 18,000 square feet.
approved BistroPlex, operated by Marcus Cinemas, will encompass
41,652 square feet.
in renderings is a 2-level restaurant and bumper car establishment
known as Whirlyball. It is expected to consume about 45,000 square
reconfiguration includes space for three as-yet unnamed tenants,
each operating out of space between 1,870 square feet and 2,000
As part of the
plans, CBL anticipates a 48,000-squarefoot reduction in the amount
of gross leasable space, compared to the current layout.
director of community development, said his office has recommended
moving forward with the redevelopment. He pointed out CBL’s plans
for the site are consistent with trends taking place in healthy
malls elsewhere in the U.S.
are reinventing themselves by moving away from strictly retail to
softer uses,” Ertl said, pointing to restaurants and event-related
venues as mechanisms for the modern-day evolution.
Commission’s recommendation Monday centered on the configuration of
the land use and architectural details.
senior project architect with KA Architecture, said the few
remaining areas of the existing Sears building, including the
east-facing portion, will be updated with new brick and masonry in a
move away from the building’s 1960s-era origins.
favored the renderings and preliminary details furnished at Monday’s
“We’ve seen a
lot of this before,” said Alderman Mark Nelson, who serves on the
Plan Commission. “It’s consistent with what I expected.”
A portion of the
project, Ertl said, includes a public-private partnership that is
set to include infrastructure and utility upgrades in the area,
including the deteriorating ring road running by the existing
including how much the city and CBL will financially contribute,
will be fleshed out further in coming months.
meeting, Ertl and CBL representatives also announced they were
halting previously approved plans of building a parking garage near
Boston Store and adding new retail uses in that area of the mall.
“Right now, I
would say it’s being abandoned,” Ken Wittler, vice president of
development with CBL, said of the Boston Store plans when pressed by
commissioners. “It could come back, but we are focusing on the Sears
end of the mall right now.”
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