CITY OF BROOKFIELD - It may seem quite a ways off, but when friends and families are finally able to start getting ready for summer cookouts, they'll have a new place to shop for the goods.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market has announced that it will open its new Brookfield location at Calhoun Crossing, 17300 W. Bluemound Road, May 10.

The Brookfield and Menomonee Falls stores, which are scheduled to open on the same day, will be the latest installments of the company in the Milwaukee area.

Fresh Thyme prides itself on offering natural and organic options for those looking to move into a healthier lifestyle. Fresh Thyme CEO Chris Sherrell has previously compared the company to a hybrid between Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

Fresh Thyme director of real estate Justin Haasch noted that the company has been looking at Brookfield and the former Plaza 173 shopping center as a potential location for years.

"The location made sense strategically for our market rollout. Demographics were a match and the real estate was strong," Haasch said. "We knew that it was coming on the market long before it was actually sold, so we were in communication with multiple developers who had expressed interest before it went on auction."

The 30,000-square-foot Brookfield store is slightly larger than the company's normal footprint.

The renovations

Plaza 173 was eventually purchased by Chicago-based HSA Commercial Real Estate, which set about planning a full-scale makeover for the property.

Last year, the developer completed a new outbuilding that now houses previously existing tenants Kessler's Diamonds and Men's Wearhouse along with newcomer Bentley's Pet Stuff. In the main strip, Total Wine & More and DSW opened new stores as well.

"We're thrilled with it. It has turned out definitely beyond our expectations," HSA Commercial Real Estate vice president of leasing and marketing Brenton Schrader said. "We think that the center looks great and we're thrilled with the performances so far of Total Wine and DSW in addition to our out-lot tenants.

Schrader expressed further excitement regarding the next tenant set to open its doors at the revamped retail center.

"We are really looking forward to getting Fresh Thyme open," Schrader said.

Calhoun Crossing still has two spaces that HSA is hoping to fill, including one junior anchor space offering approximately 23,500 square feet and a small shop measuring 6,200 square feet.

"We'll probably have an announcement at some point later this year," Schrader said.

Positive reception

Throughout the process of watching Plaza 173 transform into Calhoun Crossing, city of Brookfield mayor Steve Ponto has been pleased with the progress and with HSA as a partner.

"I think that they have been very careful about their tenant mix and I think they're doing really well," Ponto said. "They're being selective about who they lease to and they want the mix to work. I'm very impressed with what they've done so far. With Fresh Thyme opening soon, we're certainly looking forward to that. It will bring a lot to Bluemound Road."

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