Battle for Von Maur

City of Brookfield mayor Steve Ponto and Town of Brookfield chairman Keith Henderson wrote dueling editorials today in the JS about where Von Maur should locate… in Brookfield Square or in the proposed Marcus site in the Town of Brookfield.

I had thought this was a settled matter and that the town had prevailed, but Mr. Ponto states otherwise and (far more tellingly) Mr. Henderson’s piece was rather hostile…. certainly not the tone of someone who is confident they just scored a huge win. Rather, perhaps,the tone of one who is in fear that what looked like a slam dunk may not be such a sure thing after all….

Anyway, Ponto’s piece is here and Henderson’s is here.

Oh, and yes, that is me with comment #2 on Henderson’s editorial. 🙂




  1. Anonymous Politico says:

    Maybe it’s time for a compromise. They should just put it in Elkhorn.

  2. I thought Boston Store held the key according to Von Maur.

    My take? The economy isn’t enough recovered for either of these plans to come to fruition. It will be another five years or so.

  3. Anonymous Politico says:

    That’s a great point, Cindy. I was very surprised when the Van Maur proposal was made public. Retail is having a tougher time. The timing does seem quite ambitious.

  4. BrkfldDad says:

    The retailers in the existing strip mall got their walking papers and many have all ready secured new Bluemound Rd area locations. They are all to be out by the end of May. I believe this thing’s for real.

  5. I know I’m just a housewife observer, but I think the town wanted their tif in place. The promise of good retail was required to make it happen. Now they can redevelop a crummy corner of the other Brookfield within the 20 year (I think that’s it anyway) time frame. The city, of course, is crying into their own tif documents. The one they planned is crap, and not getting better any time soon.

    I remember the planning firm the city hired telling me about how wonderful that little park will be. I raised my eyebrow and said it’s cold in Wisconsin and suggested they add a skating pond. It’s in there. I voted against the damn thing anyway. It’s been a joke from the day the planning started. If the mall is really all that great, they could afford to update it without public money. (That’s the parking facility Ponto referenced. Your tax dollars at work.) Van Maur would look awesome next to a dilapidated Sears store, don’t you think?

    The whole mess is a long way from done.

    Bdad – Yes, my favorite sushi shop is closed. They’ll pull it down. It doesn’t mean they’ll build it yet.

  6. BrkfldDad says:

    I’ve got a good friend in ops at Marcus. I don’t sense they’d be proceeding without this being much further along than it seems. Von Maur is a juggernaut, well insulated from the retail slump. There is nothing like a Von Maur store anywhere near the Milwaukee market. Having called on them in the last few years I can tell you they are very bullish on the market and their company. Very telling second to last paragraph here – which I think indicates why the Town option is no mirage.

  7. Wilson828 says:

    Amazing. Have you folks been to Brookfield Square lately? It’s like Christmas time every night there. It’s mobbed. And on weekends? Forget it. Zero place to park. I avoid the place on weeknights and weekends. No place to park and poor customer service is worse than normal.

    So we want to add more congestion and general inconvenience to this area? Because? I don’t get it. Shove it in the old Menards and Marcus location. Perfect. Other than property taxes for one community or another, it’ll have the same impact on the area with jobs and related service impact.

  8. Bdad, this is where I must confess I have never been to a Von Maur. Before this news I had never heard of them. I still long for Nordstrom. Maybe Dan Ertl can work his magic on that one?

    Thank you for the excellent nearly insider information. I will take you at your word then and hope we are closer than it seems. Since I don’t have children in school anymore maybe I should be looking for a house in the town. 😉

    As always, it is so great to hear from you.

  9. BrkfldDad says:

    You’ll love Von Maur if you loved Nordstrom! It’s definitely an upscale store compared to Macy’s, Boston Store, etc…

  10. Wilson828 says:

    (we need an Apple store at Brookfield Square)