The Pavilions to get big facelift
Mequon hears details of $4 million upgrade

By Gary Achterberg

May 16, 2019

 Proposed improvements to The Pavilions include the central portion of the main building and two other buildings in the parking lot.
Photo by Gary Achterberg

MEQUON — The Pavilions shopping center will likely get a major makeover soon.

Executives from Brixmor, which owns and manages the shopping center on North Port Washington Road just south of Mequon Road, appeared at Monday’s Mequon Planning Commission meeting to discuss $4 million in proposed improvements.

After a nearly hour-long presentation and discussion, commissioners voted unanimously to table the company’s request for a month so a variety of details can be fine-tuned.

Even though they delayed approving the plans, several members made their enthusiasm clear.

Three Brixmor executives sat at a table facing Planning Commission members as they made their presentation.

“Which one of you went to  corporate and asked for the investment in this city?” asked Alderman Rob Strzelczyk.

“We all did,” one replied.

Strzelczyk smiled and clapped his hands in their direction.

“I’m really pleased to see this,” he said. “I’m excited to see this on the agenda today. I’m thrilled – absolutely thrilled.”

Brixmor, a New York City-based publicly traded company that manages The Pavilions and more than 400 other shopping centers around the nation, has proposed upgrades to the middle section of the shopping center – essentially the central portion of the main building and the two satellite structures in the parking lot.

The proposed upgrades include improvements to the facades, changes in parapet heights, new awnings and canopies, new signage, landscaping, improvements to sidewalks and associated amenities and lighting.

The upgrades will give The Pavilions “a more contemporary look,” Pa Phouala Vang, a Mequon planner, wrote in a memo summarizing the proposal.

Brixmor representatives said they would like to upgrade the entire site but are starting with the central section. The parcel on the north end, anchored by Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as Sendik’s on the south side are not included in this project.

While Planning Commission members were almost uniformly enthusiastic about the upgrade plans, they decided to put off any action until their June meeting. That will allow Brixmor and city staff to get on the same page, mainly with permitted signage. The landscape plan also was submitted too late for a thorough city review, so that would have been tabled anyway.

Some commissioners that added they would like to see a discussion about ways to make the shopping center’s parking lots more navigable.

The Pavilions, located in the 10900 to 11100 blocks of North Port Washington Road, was built in two phases in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mark Haslam, owner of The Feed Bag Pet Supply, 10900 N. Port Washington Road, attended the meeting to say he supports The Pavilions upgrades and urged that more be done on the south side, which borders his business.

A boulevard between the properties needs paving repairs. More needs to be done to tend to trash areas with missing gates and sometimes-overflowing Dumpsters, he said.

“I’m not trying to be nit-picky here, but we have to take a look right now with what is happening with The Pavilions and clean up some of these small things,” Haslam said. “I support the project, but we just can’t forget about the south-end boulevard.”

During the presentation, one of the Brixmor representatives said the plans for the upgrades already have attracted new tenants for now-vacant spaces.

Two businesses that will be moving in are D1 Sports Training, a national chain that will occupy the 9,000-square-foot space that previously housed Men’s Warehouse. Pure Hockey, which has 54 locations nationwide, also will join the mix of stores.

Mayor John Wirth said he generally likes what Brixmor has proposed. He added when he recently campaigned for mayor, he heard many Mequon residents talk about the need for improvements at The Pavilions.

“I probably heard that 100 times if I heard it once,” the mayor said.