Gardens for Grand Avenue Mall?
Could indoor gardens be in store for The Shops of Grand Avenue future? It could happen if the mall follows in the steps of a similar mall in downtown Cleveland, the Galleria at Erieview.
The Galleria at Erieview implemented an indoor garden, dubbed Gardens Under Glass, complete with a hydroponic system in empty space in the urban mall’s atrium. Fueled by natural light, mall marketing director Vicky Poole and Artist Review Today manager Jack Hamilton (a mall tenant) have created a greenhouse thanks to a $30,000 grant from Cleveland’s Civic Innovation Lab. The pair see it as a catalyst for the mall, hoping to attract those interested in learning more and consuming the products of the gardens and other sustainable stores.
How could this idea be implemented at Grand Avenue Mall in Milwaukee? The Plankinton Arcade portion of the mall appears to have the highest retail vacancy rate and operates right now largely as a pass-through area along the skywalk system between the East Town office tours and the food court. It also features an atrium the length of the property that exposes two stories to sunlight. The opportunity cost of utilizing that space certainly seems low at this point. Making the largely vacant Plankinton Arcade more attractive through the installation of garden beds also might serve to encourage more traffic to the mall’s existing businesses.
A trial on a scale this small ($30,000) appears to be a no-brainer for Grand Avenue owner’s Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp, especially compared to past suggestions of ours.