By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Portions of the Marshfield Mall would get torn down and new construction would be part of a proposed redevelopment of the property brought to the Marshfield Common Council.
A new ownership group presented its plans to the council, in hopes there would be city involvement in the redevelopment plans.
Ned Brickman of Midland Management in Milwaukee told Marshfield aldermen his company is a new co-owner of the mall with the Fonti family, which owns the furniture store in the former K-Mart location. His company has plans to save the Younkers and Kohl’s locations, plus a portion of the former JC Penney space. But he would tear down the other existing space, and build new and separate retail locations in a strip mall-style redevelopment approach.
“We’ve recently found a niche,” he said. “We’ve done a number of these redevelopments of malls in markets similar to Marshfield. We just recently did one in Marinette, which we kind of refer to because the towns are similar in terms of size and the mall itself – the one in Marinette had a closed JC Penneys and a closed Younkers, and we redeveloped it and brought in a number of retailers and it has been very successful.
“The town, as you know, when the mall is in the kind of current state that the Marshfield Mall is in, it is not good for anybody… money that you’d want to be spent in the community is going elsewhere – people are going to Stevens Point or Wausau to shop because there just aren’t enough opportunities here.”
Brickman said the Marshfield Mall is at a tipping point, and it’s going to go one of two directions.
“The Younkers building would stay and, obviously, the Kohl’s and the Ashley building would stay, but the rest is not viable today,” he explained. “We wish it would it was, but we do have a serious demand for restaurants wanting to come here – fast, casual and certain kinds of restaurants – because this market is just underserved.”
Brickman said nothing will be built until he has leases in place with retailers wanting to locate in Marshfield.
“We are not going to build this and hope they come,” Brickman said. “We will be building to suit for four or five other retailers who we would expect would be national retailers with national reputations that bring a lot to this market.
“You did Kohl’s here and there was a TIF involved with Kohl’s and to be honest, if you hadn’t done that I’m not sure where we would be, because the people we are talking to, if Kohl’s wasn’t here they wouldn’t be coming. I think that is really the first domino.”
Brickman said he’s hoping to start construction soon, and said there’s already interest from potential retailers. Brickman hopes to get signed leases within the next six months, and start construction next summer, with the new retail outlets opening in the spring of 2020. He said the tenant he’s nearly got lined up for the Younkers space could move in as early as next year, because the structure needs no renovation.