What’s Happening With the Mayfair Boston Store?

A successful $3.95 million bid means the City of Wauwatosa is working on innovative uses for the space.

The Wauwatosa Community Development Authority submitted a successful $3.95 million bid at a recent auction for the former Boston Store property at Mayfair Mall.

City of Wauwatosa staff members are actively working on innovative uses for the space and crafting a development agreement that soon will be presented to the Common Council.

The property, including the existing building and surrounding parking lots, covers about 15 acres. The property is zoned “C2 commercial,” meaning that it could be developed as mixed-use commercial, housing, retail or office.

“Maintaining Mayfair Mall as the premier mall in Wisconsin is critical to our local economy,” Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride said in a statement. “We’re excited about the redevelopment of this property and finding the right mix of uses that drive visitors, provide jobs and increase our tax base.”

The investment and redevelopment of the site will ensure Mayfair Mall continues to be a regional destination, with the highest retail sales of any mall in Wisconsin, the Wauwatosa Community Development Authority stated in a release.

The city authorized the Community Development Authority to use cash reserves for the purchase of the property. However, plans call for a tax incremental district to reimburse the authority for the purchase. The move requires approval by the Joint Review Board.

The site has been vacant since 2019, and two prior auctions proved unsuccessful in attracting a buyer. The building is 216,664 square feet and located on the south end of Mayfair Mall.

The announcement pertaining to former Boston Store site at Mayfair comes less than two weeks after Kohl’s revealed that it is set to move into the former Downtown Boston Store space. The Menomonee Falls-based retailer will renovate the space at the corner of West Wisconsin Avenue and North Vel R. Phillips Avenue that has been empty since Boston Store vacated the property four years ago after operating there for nearly 125 years. The store is expected to open in fall 2023.

In December, The Greendale Village Board approved a plan to transform the former Boston Store property at Southridge Mall in Greendale into an upscale mixed-use complex that will include as many as 790 apartment units, underground parking and 50,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.