demolition work has begun at the Sears building,
stripped of its signage, at Brookfield Square. A
dumpster and outdoor restrooms are the first signs of
construction equipment at the site.
Dave Fidlin/Special to The
BROOKFIELD — Three weeks have passed since Sears closed
its longtime Brookfield Square store, and mall
management say customers will soon begin noticing
changes to the property’s southeast side.
Three confirmed restaurant and entertainment
destinations will soon take the place of Sears, a
mainstay at the mall for more than half a century. A
Marcus BistroPlex, first announced last summer, will
occupy a portion of the property.
Also taking root at the site are two restaurant and
entertainment options making their debuts in Wisconsin:
WhirlyBall, a bar and restaurant offering such amenities
as bumper cars, and Uncle Julio’s, a Mexican eatery
touting its use of fresh ingredients.
Stacey Keating is a spokeswoman with CBL Properties, the
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based firm that owns most of
Brookfield Square, including the Sears site. In an
interview with The Freeman, Keating confirmed Sears has
vacated the site, and interior demolition work is
Sears Holdings Corp., the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based
owners of the Sears and Kmart banners, confirmed in
January it was holding a liquidation sale and leaving
the premises. The two-and-a-half-month closing sale
wrapped up March 18.
“Demolition work has already begun at the Sears site,”
Keating said. “Inside prep work is already underway.”
the weeks ahead, Keating said crews will begin tearing
down most of the 160,000-square-foot structure to
accommodate the new tenants. A firm date has not been
set, but Keating indicated the site will start being
barricaded to the public in early May.
A rendering of the BistroPlex theater planned for the
department store site at Brookfield Square.
has not announced when the trio of confirmed eateries
and entertainment destinations will open their doors,
Keating said, though the BistroPlex and Whirly-Ball are
part of the first phase of redevelopment for the site.
will be announcing some other retailers for this site in
the coming weeks,” Keating said. “We’re still working
through plans for the rest of the development.”
Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO of CBL Properties,
in a statement said the redevelopment work underway
positions Brookfield Square for success in the years
“Since acquiring the Sears building last year and
announcing our plans for redevelopment, we have received
significant demand from a variety of users interested in
being a part of this transformative project,” Lebovitz
said in the statement.
of the traditional mall-based department stores have
been in precarious situations at the hands of online
shopping, heightened competition from fast-casual
clothiers and other factors.
loss of a department store — oftentimes dubbed an anchor
store because of its one-time magnetic draw — was once
viewed as the beginning of a mall’s death spiral. More
recently, however, mall owners such as CBL Properties
have looked at other uses for their properties by
relying less on department stores.
Sears out of the equation, Brookfield Square has two
remaining department stores — JCPenney and Boston Store
— though the latter could be shutting down as parent
company The Bon-Ton Stores continue to work through
<<EARLIER: Plans to revitalize mall’s south end moving