32° F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy

Hilldale Shopping Center owners propose open, outdoor mall

Published On: Jul 11 2013 09:54:46 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 12 2013 10:21:05 AM CDT

Image courtesy WS Development


A popular Madison mall is once again the subject of major renovations.

The owners of Hilldale Shopping Center revealed their proposal at a neighborhood meeting Thursday evening.

WS Development took over the mall less than a year ago and wants to transform the area between Macy's and Metcalfe's Market grocery store into an open mall.

The owner said it was "scary" how many vacant storefronts or stores whose leases are ending soon are in that corridor and proposed filling them with new ones, likely national chains.

That got an audible groan from the audience, but not Annetta Barger.

"Hilldale was the reason we bought at Weston Place because we wanted to be near there," said Barger.

But would an outdoor mall really work well in Wisconsin?

"That's a question they're getting, but apparently this is the trend in malls, something we've seen in various places around the country," said District 11 Alderman Chris Schmidt, who has met with the developers about the project.

"I'm somebody who likes to walk in the mall in the winter because it's a warm space, but certainly in the spring and fall it could be nice," said Barger.

WS Development bought the mall, which was in foreclosure, last June. According to its website, it's one of the largest privately owned retail development firms in the country. It owns about 80 properties, mostly on the East Coast.

It hasn't filed any paperwork at City Hall yet, but Schmidt said it will plan to meet with the Urban Design Commission next and submit something by next month. The owners met with a Development Assistant Team Thursday morning.

There seems to be a lot of interest for the project, even without a concrete timeline or cost, given its early stages.

"It's handled like a rezoning and there will be public hearings at Planning Commission and public hearings at the Common Council," explained Schmidt, who has said he supports the project so far.

  • PHOTOS: Viewers drop off sensitive documents for Shredfest

    The WISC-TV studio parking lot was busy with hundreds of viewers bringing their sensitive documents to be destroyed as part of Shredfest with the Better Business Bureau Saturday morning.

    A combined 1,295 cars dropped off bags of papers at WISC-TV on Raymond Road and SVA Certified Public Accountants firm on John Q. Hammons Drive.

    News 3 and Better Business Bureau team members unloaded bags of documents from viewers' cars and Pellitteri Waste Systems' Data Destruction team put the papers into the shredding trucks.

  • Earthquake in Nepal 12

    Omar Havana/Getty Images

    Earthquake kills hundreds in Nepal

    A 7.8 magnitude earthquake centered less than 50 miles from Kathmandu rocked Nepal with devastating force early Saturday, killing at least 1,400 people -- and probably more -- in Nepal's capital city, authorities said. 

  • Bruce Jenner

    Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational

    Most memorable celebrity interviews

    Bruce Jenner will talk with Diane Sawyer in a highly anticipated interview on Friday night. Look back at some of the other memorable celebrity interviews from over the years.