Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Shuttered Midtown Walmart Could Gain Businesses, Dog Park

Affordable Family Storage may redevelop area around its planned self-storage complex.

By - Jan 4th, 2023 05:11 pm
Midtown Center Walmart. Rendering from Affordable Family Storage listing flyer.

Midtown Center Walmart. Rendering from Affordable Family Storage listing flyer.

The new owner of the shuttered Midtown Center Walmart store has plans to bring at least four new businesses and a dog park to the property located near W. Capitol Dr. and W. Fond du Lac Ave.

A redevelopment plan, revealed in pieces through property listings, includes selling a portion of the 500-space parking lot for redevelopment, leasing the front of the 160,000-square-foot store to a retailer and adding a self-storage operation to the back of the building. It also includes converting a grass lot adjacent to the building into a dog park and repurposing part of the parking lot as an event area.

An affiliate of Affordable Family Storage paid $3.28 million for the 15.24-acre property in July. The property, vacant since 2016, was listed with auction service Ten-X in June. It was sold by an affiliate of New York-based DLC Management, which in 2014 paid $47.2 million for the larger shopping center complex and continues to operate it as such. The Walmart store, 5825 W. Hope Ave. was constructed in 2002 and renovated in 2006.

Affordable, through Iowa-based O&H Investments, listed two 0.75-acre lots for sale along N. 60th St. It’s part of a strategy known as “out lots,” to parcel off portions of underutilized parking lots for small commercial development, which has become increasingly common in the past decade. Examples abound along W. Fond du Lac Ave. on the east side of the shopping center, where the 0.87-acre McDonald’s lot provides a visual example of what a future development could look like.

The self-storage company’s bigger and more unconventional plans are for the remaining Walmart property. The company would lease between 3,000 to 30,000 square feet at the front of the former store to a retailer and develop a self-storage facility behind the new retailer. Conversion to a self-storage use would require a zoning change, and receiving such approval is not guaranteed. The Board of Zoning Appeals rejected such a request in 2022.

Renderings included in the leasing flyer depict the grass lot at the east end of the store property being repurposed as a fenced-in dog park.

The eastern portion of the parking lot, greater than 1.5 acres in size, would be configured as an “event area.” A conceptual rendering depicts a dozen food trucks and a stage atop a hardscape surface with limited landscaping.

The middle of the parking lot would be maintained for its original purpose.

Affordable Family Storage did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither the out lot, nor the leasing flyer includes pricing or a timeline.

The storage company’s website lists 19 locations, all in the Midwest. The only Wisconsin location is at 5851 S. Packard Ave. in Cudahy, where the company rents out storage space for as little as $29 for a five-foot-by-five-foot unit. The building was previously home to a Pick ‘n Save grocery store.

The Common Council previously approved a zoning change for a portion of Midtown Center. In 2018Phoenix Investors converted the vacant, 134,314-square-foot Lowe’s home improvement store, 5800 W. Hope Ave., into a distribution center. It is now leased to Sellars Absorbent Materials.

Phoenix is now eyeing its own outlot sale. It listed a one-acre portion of parking lot, nearest to W. Fond du Lac Ave. and across from Affordable’s planned “event area,” for sale. Phoenix has also removed pavement from a sizable portion of the parking lot.

Photos and Renderings

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