The WhirlyBall restaurant and entertainment venue
proposed for the south end of Brookfield Square will be
45,000 square feet with indoor seating accommodations
for up to 663 persons and outdoor seating for up to 164
BROOKFIELD — Details of the new WhirlyBall restaurant
and entertainment venue envisioned for the south end of
Brookfield Square came into sharp focus Monday, and a
city panel was overwhelmingly supportive of the plans
WhirlyBall is one of multiple new establishments planned
for the former Sears department store building, which is
in the final stages of being razed on the mall’s south
Elias, vice president of strategic planning with
WhirlyBall, and Andrew Koglin of OKW Architects combed
through details of the establishment’s operations plans
at Monday’s Plan Commission meeting.
Plans call for the construction of a 45,000-square-foot
building with indoor seating accommodations for up to
663 persons and outdoor seating for up to 164 persons.
WhirlyBall, which until recently was concentrated in the
Chicago metro area, features the namesake sport, which
incorporates elements of basketball, lacrosse and
“It’s all rolled into one on bumper cars,” Elias said of
the sport. “It’s two teams of five, and everyone travels
at the same speed.”
WhirlyBall also will feature accommodations for 12 lanes
of bowling and an area designated for laser tag.
Rounding out the establishment’s offerings is a dining
area and a full-fledged food and drink menu, which Elias
said will be served throughout the facility.
WhirlyBall, which is making its first foray into
Wisconsin at Brookfield Square, is setting up shop in an
area brimming with other new developments, including the
new hotel and conference center recently approved at the
former Sears Auto site.
anticipate with the conference center going in across
the street, this will be a great outlet for corporate
groups looking to entertain,” Elias said.
Koglin said meticulous detail has gone into the proposed
architecture, which includes a number of woodthemed
accents and a variety of color schemes. Koglin in his
pitch to commissioners described it as “a loft look.”
architecture is really an inside-out expression of the
building,” Koglin said of the vision for the site.
Ertl, director of community development, said WhirlyBall
and other new establishments in the immediate area —
which include the soon-to-relocate Outback Steakhouse, a
Marcus BistroPlex and Mexican restaurant Uncle Julio’s —
will have a unique, cohesive design.
During deliberations, three council members with seats
on the Plan Commission offered robust compliments to
Elias and Koglin for their forward-thinking vision for
“This is truly exceptional, in terms of the
architecture,” Alderman Rick Owen said. “I’m thrilled
with seeing this kind of architecture coming to the
Alderman Gary Mahkorn described the state of the aging,
obsolete Sears site as “appalling” before redevelopment
efforts got underway.
“We’ve been wanting to see some changes to the south end
of the mall,” Mahkorn said. “This is dramatic, and the
architecture is superior. To me, this is a no-brainer.
It’s nice to see this come to fruition.”
an operational standpoint, Alderman Mark Nelson said he
believes an establishment such as WhirlyBall will help
usher Brookfield Square into a new era.
think this is going to become a true destination,”
Nelson said. “I think people will come a great distance
to use this.”
commissioners’ recommendation in favor of WhirlyBall’s
plans will go before the Common Council for a final,
definitive vote later this month.
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