There's been a lot of activity in Brookfield and Elm Grove this year in regard to business. Just a short jaunt down Bluemound Road will show you a very different picture than it may have a year ago.
Here are our top business stories for 2016:
1. The Corners comes together
There's about 5 or 6 stories that combine to form this tale and that seems to be indicative of the tenants coming together to form an exciting mixed-use lifestyle center. The Corners, set to open this spring, will be anchored by Von Maur's first location in the state of Wisconsin. A number of tenants announced that they had signed on for the project as well this year including BelAir Cantina, L.L. Bean, Francesca's, Scout & Molly's, Free People and more.
2. New businesses choose Brookfield
Von Maur isn't the only familiar name that decided to make Brookfield its home base of operations for the state of Wisconsin. In fact, The Corners alone boasts half a dozen tenants that will be opening their first in-state locations.
3. Portillo's opens
One of the aforementioned dozen new businesses to open or announce their intent to open in Brookfield this year was Portillo's. The Chicago-based hot dog and sandwich specialty restaurant opened to crowds of eager diners in July.
4. Milwaukee Tool expansion approved
The city of Brookfield approved providing up to $6 million in financial aid via a tax incremental financing (TIF) district in order to help Milwaukee Tool expand its headquarters on Lisbon Road. The project would include the construction of a four-story, 207,000-square-foot office building. Milwaukee Tool has said that the expansion will create up to 500 new corporate office level jobs.
5. Brookfield Square plans to expand again
Only months after completing the latest expansion to the southeast wing of the mall, Brookfield Square owner CBL & Associates delivered plans to the city of Brookfield for another 50,000-square-feet of new retail space as well as a parking garage.
6. Total Wine & More pops cork on state level debate
Another first-time Wisconsin business, but this time with a bit of a corkscrew. Total Wine prides itself on carrying over 8,000 different varieties of wine as well as thousands of beers and liquors. However, it also makes tastings and educational courses part of its business model. As such, the company ran into an issue with the city of Brookfield. City officials felt that Total Wine & More should operate under a Class A liquor license rather than a Class B. Mayor Steve Ponto and others argued that Class A licenses are traditionally intended for businesses that are primarily retail, such as Total Wine, while Class B licenses are for restaurants and bars. The conversation has led multiple state legislators to consider changing the restrictions on Class A licenses.
7. Wisconsin Athletic Club moves to new location
There's a new, exciting spot to work out in the town of Brookfield after the Wisconsin Athletic Club decided to relocate its former location on Moreland Blvd. in Waukesha to 20075 Water Tower Blvd. The new location features 60,000 square feet of amenities, including a lounge area, mezzanine level, four pools and a women's-only workout area.