TOWN OF BROOKFIELD – Good things come to those who wait.
Shoppers, diners and those looking for a place to serve as a community center might have just about waited long enough with The Corners set to open this weekend.
The town’s new crown jewel, developed by Chicago-based Bradford Real Estate and UK-based IM Properties, will finally come to fruition and culminate years of anticipation when its anchor tenant, Von Maur, leads store openings Saturday, April 8 for the mixed-use lifestyle center.
“We are thrilled and honored to welcome guests to the center this Saturday to celebrate the opening of Von Maur and our first batch of retailers,” IM Properties vice president of U.S. operations Robert Gould said. “We know there has been much excitement and anticipation from the community as the project has evolved over the past few years and this is an exciting milestone to celebrate.”
Plans for The Corners date back well beyond the involvement of either Bradford or IM Properties. Previously, The Marcus Corporation had led the effort to develop the project before handing it off to Bradford in December 2014.
Since that time, The Corners has marked such milestones as breaking ground in May 2015, raising the signature cupolas of Von Maur in December 2016, and welcoming a host of exciting retail and restaurant tenants along the way.
Gould spoke highly of Von Maur as having anchored The Corners in physical, symbolic and literal senses.
“Von Maur was a part of this project even before IM Properties and Bradford became involved. Its presence was certainly one of the aspects that drew us to this development,” Gould said. “Having that store as our largest anchor has definitely helped attract other tenants.”
Along with the Davenport, Iowa department store are a number of other companies putting down their first roots in the state of Wisconsin at The Corners. They include L.L. Bean, Kendra Scott, Arhaus, Scout & Molly’s, Anthony Vince’ Nail Salon and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.
One man who's seen just about as much as anyone of the saga leading up to Saturday’s celebration is retired town of Brookfield administrator Rick Czopp.
Czopp, whose last day on the job after more than 13 years was Feb. 28, counted The Corners as his most proud task during his tenure.
“I feel really great with The Corners going through. That’s probably been my biggest accomplishment and it’s been great working with the (town) board, Marcus and Bradford,” Czopp said. “The Corners is going to be one of the capstones of this area and I feel great to have been a part of it.”
Town of Brookfield elected officials agree with their former administrator in counting this week’s culmination among their proudest moments.
“I would say that without a doubt this ranks as the number one,” town supervisor John Schatzman said. "I think this was well beyond the dreams that we had originally. This piece of property is like something you would see in downtown Chicago. It’s very high-end, it’s unbelievable.”
Schatzman credited the many town of Brookfield citizens, the plan commission and architectural control committee and numerous others for their parts in making The Corners a reality. He spoke particularly highly of Bradford Real Estate.
“(Bradford) finally took the ball and really ran fast and hard. They have to be given a lot of credit,” Schatzman said.
While The Corners will be anchored by Von Maur and will offer a number of first-in-state options for shoppers, Gould and his colleagues have effused about what the project has to offer outside of retail.
In addition to the approximately 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, The Corners also includes 244 luxury apartments being managed by The Mandel Group. The project also will feature a market square area with the goal of hosting gatherings and events for the community at-large.
“Since the beginning of our involvement in this project, our goal has been to create a sense of identity and a gathering place for the town of Brookfield," Gould said. "Our vision has always been that The Corners will be a place for people to live, shop, dine and be entertained.”
Gould compared The Corners to locations that can be found in European cities which serve as centers of not only commerce and dining, but gathering and socializing as well.
“We’ve never identified as just a shopping center. We have always envisioned The Corners being not just a lifestyle center, but a town center with a heart and a sense of place,” Gould said. “In Europe, such places have for centuries been called the Town Center. That is what the town of Brookfield deserves. It will take time to evolve, but we are determined to bring a unique experience to our customers.”
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria was announced April 3 as the latest tenant to sign on to The Corners, but Gould says more announcements are still to come.
“We are in lease negotiations with several other tenants,” Gould said. “We look forward to hopefully announcing several additions in the coming weeks and months.”
In addition to Von Maur, Anthony Vince Nail Spa, Francesca’s, J. Jill, Kendra Scott, Twigs and Scout & Molly’s are all expected to be a part of the April 8 celebration. Other tenants are expected to open in the weeks and months to come as construction allows. The apartments are scheduled to open this summer.