City of Brookfield — Shoppers have plenty to look forward to in the years to come.
As The Corners approaches its official opening date and The Corridor continues to take shape, Brookfield Square is not sitting idly by while rivals pop up down the road.
A proposed major expansion of the mall by owner CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. took its first steps towards fruition at the city of Brookfield common council meeting Tuesday night.
The council approved a plan and method of operation and preliminary and certified survey maps for the expansion, which would represent Phase VII of ongoing improvements at Brookfield Square, by a 12-2 vote.
Phase VII will include 54,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space off of the northeast end of the mall.
Additionally, Phase VII would include a three-level parking structure on the west side of Boston Store and reconfiguration of the JC Penney and food court parking lots.
One of the most controversial parts of the proposal stems from the fact that the city of Brookfield plans to provide as much as $6.5 million in financial assistance through tax incremental financing (TIF) district #3 in order to build the expansion.
“It’s not that I have any objection to the mall adding retail space to their facility, what I object to is the use of public money to pay for the parking structure,” alderman Christopher Blackburn said. “I don’t think it’s a public purpose and I don’t think it’s a good use of money.”
Blackburn, who has historically spoken against the use of TIFs, was joined by alderman Jerry Mellone in forming the opposition against the plan.
City of Brookfield director of finance Robert Scott noted that the city will not be taking on any new debt through the financing plan as the balance to cover its contribution for the parking structure already exists within TIF #3, which was established in 2004. Scott also noted that the city is contractually obligated to provide the funds after having agreed to do so in 2014.
The majority of aldermen supported the Phase VII plans, noting the importance of Brookfield Square to the community.
“I’m excited about the 54,000 additional square feet of retail and service-related shops because what we really want to see happen clearly is that the mall thrive and be vibrant,” alderman Gary Mahkorn said. “What happens at the mall affects every last establishment heading west on Bluemound Road.”
The 54,000 square feet of new space will house approximately six new shops that could range from traditional retail stores to restaurants. The parking deck would have connecting walkways to Boston Store.
CBL senior project manager Corbett Drew said that construction on the latest expansion could begin as soon as weather allows this spring. Drew declined to give a projected date for when the project would be finished, but assured that it will at least be prior to the end of 2018.