As Southridge Improves, So Do Retailers and Restaurants

Over the past year, our regional mall is being transformed from the inside out. What's in store for shoppers as we say goodbye to one of the mall's mid-size tenants?

Over the past year, those of us in the southern suburbs have watched as our regional mall is being transformed from the inside out. Simon, the world's largest mall operator that tookover ownership of Southridge a few years ago, decided to put on the map again in terms of making it attractive for retailers and restaurants. So far, , Simon's plan is moving along smoothly.

and bringing new life to the mall's south wing, where the once-vacant Younkers space was dubbed a cancer that could eventually kill the mall if not eliminated. With Macy's, several other retailers have either opened or remodeled their existing stores in the mall, including , Rue 21 and Maurices. But even with this new life, there's the big news that The mall didn't make any significant comment on the closing either, mostly leaving it up to our imaginations as to what's the real reason behind it.

The way I see it, mall management has been working diligently to transform the southern wing of Southridge into more of a high-end destination for shoppers. This wing would likely cater more-so to wealthier suburbanites from Franklin to New Berlin rather than folks coming in from the south side of Milwaukee. Management hasn't kept this secret; since the announcement of Macy's they've provided quotes to various Milwaukee-area media outlets noting their desire to make the southern wing more upscale and, in particular, geared for women shoppers. Having an Old Navy, which promotes and is proud of its low priced clothing offerings, in the middle of this vision surely wasn't too appealing behind the scenes. In addition to this, Old Navy's space within the mall was likely too large for it to simply be moved to another location. Southridge has the distinction of having 5 department stores - the most for this metropolitan area. The issue though is that the 5th anchor () takes up space which normally has retailers such as Old Navy. Kohl's is great as an anchor, but it does limit opportunities for smaller tenants wishing to locate at Southridge.

The only options with Old Navy would have been locating it to the former Borders along 76th Street or building a store somewhere in the mall's outer parking lots. The Borders site would have been great visibility and is directly across from the new Walmart being built. However, Borders is now taken. . 

As for the outer parking lots, I'm sure management would like to see something similar to what Mayfair and Brookfield Square did - build lots of restaurants.

While we're likely saying goodbye to Old Navy, it'll be interesting to see what new shopping and dining opportunities are in store for southern suburban shoppers. Personally, I'm still holding out hope for a Cheesecake Factory.

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Bren July 10, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I would have liked to have seen a Trader Joe's in the Borders location instead of another shoe store. It's disappointing that Greendale is cloning products/services instead of finding new. We already have two steakhouses nearby and there is mall Chinese food at Southridge (now I wouldn't complain about a P.F. Changs). Old Navy caters to a youth clientele I believe. It's removal might address the loitering issue at Southridge.
Franklin resident July 10, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Yes if you want to attack high end then welcoming resturants like Panda Express are not it. We need a Trader Joes, natural foods store, Whole foods. Ask the community what they want. What you are putting in is NOT it. Everyone is leaving Southridge because you jacked there rent to pay for the remodel. Might have a pretty mall but it will be a pretty empty mall with 5 anchors and that is it that can afford to stay.
Nicki July 10, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I heard a rumor last week that Trader Joe's is looking at the empty Sentry location on 76th & Rawson. Since it is basically a specialty store, it wouldn't be competition for Pick n Save or Sendik's. As for Whole Foods, I believe that they don't, as a rule, put stores in malls. It's too bad that we couldn't have another Sentry in the area, rather than the WalMart. Metcalfe's Sentry stores are great; the one on 68th & State is so nice and they have one attached to the Hilldale Mall in Madison that is gorgeous. It would have been a boon to have a store like that. I hear the Cermak's Fresh Market on Miller Park Way is also going to be something to see.
joan July 10, 2012 at 10:01 PM
It would be so amazing to.open up a trader joe's!!!! I am also holding out for the cheescake factory. I wish someone could help me understand why we're making the mall upscale and putting a Walmart across the street. Doesn't make much sense now does it??? Who's idea was walmart.....not the communities. Oh and the low income apartments associated with the mall. How is that supposed to.bring productivity and financial growth to the community?
Bill Mack July 10, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Joan lighten up, what do you have against a very few low income apartments? Who ever said that Southridge was upscale in the first place?
Nicki July 11, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Could the "low income apartments" to which you refer be the affordable senior apartments on Grange? It's a very nice looking structure built on the same concept as many senior complexes in the area where rent is based on income at the Berkshire Greendale apartments. These are not "low income" apartments, rather apartments made available to seniors living on fixed incomes who would like to stay in or near their own communities where they feel comfortable. The Regency communities are based on the same principle and they are beautiful. My parents moved to Muskego when that Regency opened and they lived in a lovely one bedroom apartment with rent based on their Social Security and pensions. These places have amenities such as washers and dryers in the units, patios or balconies and user friendly kitchens and bathrooms. They will also have activities for the residents just as the Regencies do. These would most likely include programs and bus trips. I would also expect that they would provide bus shuttles for grocery and other shopping just as other senior communities do.
Mark Maley July 11, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Great post, Greg! Welcome to Patch. As a resident of the south suburbs, it's nice to see all the positive changes being made at Southridge.
FL Born July 11, 2012 at 04:33 PM
One of the trustees said they inquired about P.F. Changs but we do not have the Lunch crowd (office buildings) like Mayfair area does, so Changs was not interested in our location. The Senior living apartments in the Mall parking lot are Subsidized housing or social housing government supported accommodation for people with low to moderate incomes. Financial burden on the Tax payers. I have recommended two excellent restaurants that have done well fiscally across the country and would compliment the area restaurants, but have not heard anything further. www.chick-fil-a.com www.skylinechili.com
JustMe July 11, 2012 at 09:48 PM
"While we're likely saying goodbye to Old Navy," Don't forget Hallmark and Lane Bryant too. Looking forward to Panda Express. Hopefully it will have better service than the one in West Allis.
Nicki July 11, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Hallmark is not leaving as reported earlier. They are relocating to a different location in the mall.
karen July 12, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Trader Joes would be a great idea!
karen July 12, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Greendale needs a Trader Joes!
Bren July 14, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Checking the Greendale police blotter I note that the new Macy's has had its first experience with the type of menswear clothing theft (Polo) that plagues Mayfair. In this instance, the perpetrator was caught. Well done! The message needs to be sent that the days of theft and loitering at Southridge are over. The Walmart across the street is going to make security more difficult because police reports in other communities indicate that pickpockets/thieves in malls take stolen credit cards to the nearest Walmart. Greendale has put one right across the street, a quick trot across the parking lots and 76th Street. Hopefully the GPD will step up patrols of the parking lots. We were at Southridge a few weeks ago and four 20-somethings were being arrested, for what we later learned was gang-related fighting. The number of mistakes the Greendale Village board is making is becoming legion. Pressure needs to be placed on them (with the exception of Village President Hermes, who gets it) to get professional advice on business development and historic landmark preservation before they do permanent damage. I would really rather have a Trader Joes instead of a DSW in the old Borders space. A young relative recently walked out of the Mayfair DSW after watching people try on shoes with bare feet. That's just unsanitary.
Nicki July 14, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I worked at the Southridge Gimbels back in the 70's and 80's and I wish I could remember all the incidences of theft and watching our security people chase down the concourse after shoplifters. Talk about clothing items! One distinct memory for me is an entire rack of top name expensive women's sportswear which was standing near the Grange Ave entrance disappeared. It was probably a week later when some employees of the department went down to the 7 Mile Fair and saw the same items for sale. It was a standing joke around Gimbels and Boston store at that time that when clothing disappeared, it could be found the next weekend at 7 Mile Fair. My point is this has been going on since the mall opened, it's nothing new.


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