MILWAUKEE — Kohl's Corp. is expected to open a store in the Hub640 building near Wisconsin and Vel R. Phillips in downtown Milwaukee.
According to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal, the smaller-format store will take over the space vacated by Boston Store. A formal announcement is planned for Friday.
Should Kohl's finalize plans and move into the location, it would be one of the largest retailers in downtown Milwaukee. It would also be the first large-scale traditional store to move back to West Wisconsin Avenue since the shops at Grand Avenue Mall transformed into the Third Street Market Hall.
Milwaukee Leaders have wanted a Kohl's in the area for a long time, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. And the arrival of a downtown location would come about a decade after the city attempted to attract Kohl's headquarters to downtown Milwaukee.
The new store would be in the ground-floor retail space in Hub640, which has been vacant since the summer of 2018. The Milwaukee Business Journal says Kohl's had been in talks to lease the space since 2019, but the concept was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news comes shortly after Kohl's ended talks to be sold to Franchise Group.
"The narrative has sort of turned towards revival," said Sean Ryan who originally reported the story for the Milwaukee Business Journal.
"The former Grand Avenue has been redeveloped with a food hall, there's offices and apartments in there. There's the Milwaukee Symphony, the new performance hall, and the convention center is expanding. But really until this Kohl's announcement, you didn't see many large retailers ready to come back into that area," Ryan said.
Stacie Callies, the Executive Director of the Westown Association, said the news helps add to the momentum the neighborhood has already seen in the last few years.
"This announcement very much solidifies what we knew and felt all along about the potential of our downtown neighborhood. But to have a national retailer, many of which are cutting back locations, feel confident about our downtown neighborhood to open a store says a lot," Callies said.
Milwaukee residents out enjoy the Night Market on Wednesday Wisconsin Ave. also expressed excitement about a Kohl's coming to downtown.
"I think it's nice because it's been vacant for awhile," Said Molly Schamberger.
Mary Kay Thibert said, "I love that it was born locally and that it's coming back downtown."
An opening date for the Kohl's store downtown has not yet been announced.