Mayfair mall's Boston Store property redevelopment includes 900 apartments

A planned 906 apartments would be built around the former Boston Store building at Mayfair mall under a redevelopment plan that Wauwatosa could support with $57.9 million in proposed spending.

Wauwatosa officials are working with a developer on the project, but are not yet identifying the company that would build the apartments, according to the city spokeswoman. The city is working with Mayfair mall owner Brookfield Properties to find new retailers to refill the former Boston Store building, said Wauwatosa communications manager Eva Ennamorato. The apartments would be constructed on land around the Boston Store and Mayfair mall on the southern end of the mall campus.

A proposed tax incremental financing district under review this week includes $33.2 million in incentives for that developer to build a first phase with 463 apartments, a structure with 617 parking stalls, and 6,667 square feet of new retail space, according to the city’s TIF plan.

The public review of that TIF district starts with meetings of Wauwatosa’s Community Development Authority and Joint Review Board on Thursday. The development agreements have not been finalized with private companies, including potentially Brookfield Properties, that would move the project forward after a TIF district is approved, said Paulette Enders, city of Wauwatosa development director.

“Wauwatosa is very fortunate in that we have developers interested in developing the property and in our ability to work with Brookfield Properties, the mall owner, has been pretty rare,” Enders said. “We’re very fortunate we are where we are, and we’re putting this financing tool in place so we can take the next steps in development.”

The city of Wauwatosa acquired the vacant 15-acre Boston Store property in July 2022 with the intent of finding a developer to transform the site. City officials in spring began advancing plans to redevelop it, including discussions with Brookfield Properties. At that time, Mayor Dennis McBride discussed the potential for dense new housing to support the stores on the remainder of Mayfair mall.

Similar plans have been floated for the former Boston Store sites at Southridge Mall in Greendale, and Brookfield Square Mall, but the proposal outlined for Wauwatosa is the biggest yet.

After that first phase with 463 apartments is complete in 2025, two more phases could follow. That would mean 208 apartments in 2026, and 235 more with additional parking and retail space the following year.

In total, that would mean $111.6 million in additional taxable property value in the city of Wauwatosa by 2027 after the three phases of construction are complete, according to the TIF district plan. The property taxes generated by that new value would finance the incentives to the developer and city-funded infrastructure work on the site.

“Those are eligible costs we have financed in the past where, but-for that assistance, the project would not have moved forward,” Enders said.

That spending includes the $33.2 million incentive pledge to the developer if the project meets its benchmarks for creating new land value. The company would collect annual refunds on the project’s property taxes between 2027 and 2051.

The city would also spend $3 million building water mains, $1 million for pedestrian improvements, and $7.8 million to support commercial parking stalls, retail spaces and stormwater improvements. The total spending through the TIF is $57.9 million, representing nearly all of the property taxes the project would generate between 2024 and 2050.

Boston Store’s parent company closed in 2018, shuttering its large stores connected to the region’s major malls. They remain undeveloped at Brookfield Square, Southridge, Mayfair and Regency Mall in Racine; however, each of those communities has partners with developers to transform the sites.

At Southridge in Greendale, Barrett Lo Visionary Development plans 790 apartments and 50,000 square feet of new retail space. Irgens acquired the Boston Store at Brookfield Square and is pursuing a mixed-use redevelopment that includes apartments. Regency Mall, including its Boston Store, is to be redeveloped with apartments and a new big-box store.

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