Monday, February 13, 2006

Hey, At Least She Didn't Say "Welfare Queens"

The expansion at Bayshore Mall in the suburbs north of Milwaukee is expected to double the mall's workforce from 4,000 to roughly 9,000 employees, the Journal-Sentinel reports today. The plan at Bayshore is to make the mall into a "lifestyle mall" that resembles a Main Street-type atmosphere. The idea is that if you make it more comfortable for shoppers, a little more homey, they'll stay longer and spend more.

Wisconsin State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) called the expansion "a perfect opportunity to match W-2 moms with real jobs." (Two quick thoughts: 1. At least we've moved on from "welfare queens" and 2. Apparently being a mother isn't a real job...someone should relay that info to a sizable portion of Darling's female North Shore constituents.)

Then Darling made this grand statement for the expansion: "I look at it in my political career as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is as good as it gets."

Do we have any other "lifestyle malls" in Wisconsin? Yeah, one. It's Greenway Station in Middleton. Here is the Capital Times report on Greenway from today's paper:

"When Greenway Station opened in September 2003, a number of independent local merchants signed leases to sell alongside national retailers and restaurants. They liked the upscale atmosphere the state's first and still only lifestyle retail center projected, and the promise of exposure from customers visiting shops exclusive to this region.

Many of those stores have since closed or moved as the center has faced some difficulty."

Ouch.

I'm not saying that just because Greenway is failing, Bayshore is doomed to fail. In fact, I very much hope it's a success. But the lessons learned by Greenway Station do suggest Bayshore may not be the rags to riches goldmine that Darling and the developers are hoping...let alone a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that's as good as it gets.

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