Bon-Ton to renovate its downtown Boston Store and HQ building

Will reduce its retail space and increase its office space

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is planning a complete renovation of the downtown Milwaukee Boston Store building that will reduce the size of its retail space while increasing the space for the company’s corporate offices.

Bon-Ton, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, announced the changes Tuesday that include eliminating the children’s, home and furniture departments from the downtown Boston Store.

Bon-Ton

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. headquarters and Boston Store building in downtown Milwaukee.

Bon-Ton Stores added the furniture department to the downtown store in May 2016.

The city of Milwaukee and building owner, Chicago-based, North Wells Capital will pay for the renovations as part of the renegotiated lease terms, according to a Bon-Ton spokeswoman.

The company has not said what the cost of the renovation will be or the amount of square feet that would be reduced on the retail side.

Both the office and retail space renovation will start in November and are scheduled for completion in July 2018.

In April, North Wells Capital, the investment management affiliate of Chicago-based Urban Innovations Ltd., purchased the 122-year-old, 428,652-square-foot Boston Store building from Wispark LLC for $25 million.

The retail store occupies 123,434 square feet on the first and second floors, and Bon-Ton’s corporate headquarters occupies 170,358 square feet of office space on floors 3 through 5.

Boston Lofts, a 74-unit apartment complex, totals 134,860 square feet on floors 6 through 9, plus 56,785 square feet devoted to a 129-stall underground parking garage.

Boston Store opened its doors at 331 W. Wisconsin in 1897, and its offices have remained in the building since.

Currently, some of its offices are located across the street at The Blue at 310 W. Wisconsin Ave. With the new configuration, Bon-Ton corporate offices will occupy a portion of the first, second and fourth floors, and the entire third level of its current building.

“We’re looking forward to providing a new shopping experience with merchandise that appeals to the downtown customer and an updated store environment that offers physical appeal and enhanced convenience,” Bill Tracy, resident and chief executive officer of The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. said in a written statement. “We’re equally excited about upgrading our corporate office to create state-of-the-art space that will enhance the day-to-day experience of our associates and help them be more energized, innovative and collaborative.”

The renovation will include increased natural light, new interior lighting, loft-like ceilings, open stairways, glass walls added to offices and conference rooms.

New associate common areas will be added, updated break rooms with healthier vending options, and an updated town hall meeting space with an enhanced sound and projection system.

“When we acquired 331 W. Wisconsin, it was in the hope that we could help The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. achieve their goal to maintain their iconic retail and headquarters presence while offering a superior experience to their employees and customers,” James Fox, co-founder and CEO of North Wells Capital said in a statement. “This lease agreement not only ensures our mutual success in this location, but also represents an important step in the revitalization of downtown Milwaukee.”

Bon-Ton has struggled for years and has not turned an annual profit since 2010. Tracy became CEO in August after the resignation of Kathryn Bufano. Earlier this year, S&P Global Market Intelligence named Bon-Ton as one of 10 retail companies most at risk to file for bankruptcy.

To help keep the store and the corporate headquarters downtown, the Milwaukee Common Council approved a deal early this year to provide $1.9 million in city funds to Bon-Ton to keep the Boston Store and the Bon-Ton corporate offices in the building through 2028. The deal keeps 750 jobs in downtown Milwaukee, according to a city document on the deal.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is planning a complete renovation of the downtown Milwaukee Boston Store building that will reduce the size of its retail space while increasing the space for the company’s corporate offices.

Bon-Ton, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, announced the changes Tuesday that include eliminating the children’s, home and furniture departments from the downtown Boston Store.

Bon-Ton

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. headquarters and Boston Store building in downtown Milwaukee.

Bon-Ton Stores added the furniture department to the downtown store in May 2016.

The city of Milwaukee and building owner, Chicago-based, North Wells Capital will pay for the renovations as part of the renegotiated lease terms, according to a Bon-Ton spokeswoman.

The company has not said what the cost of the renovation will be or the amount of square feet that would be reduced on the retail side.

Both the office and retail space renovation will start in November and are scheduled for completion in July 2018.

In April, North Wells Capital, the investment management affiliate of Chicago-based Urban Innovations Ltd., purchased the 122-year-old, 428,652-square-foot Boston Store building from Wispark LLC for $25 million.

The retail store occupies 123,434 square feet on the first and second floors, and Bon-Ton’s corporate headquarters occupies 170,358 square feet of office space on floors 3 through 5.

Boston Lofts, a 74-unit apartment complex, totals 134,860 square feet on floors 6 through 9, plus 56,785 square feet devoted to a 129-stall underground parking garage.

Boston Store opened its doors at 331 W. Wisconsin in 1897, and its offices have remained in the building since.

Currently, some of its offices are located across the street at The Blue at 310 W. Wisconsin Ave. With the new configuration, Bon-Ton corporate offices will occupy a portion of the first, second and fourth floors, and the entire third level of its current building.

“We’re looking forward to providing a new shopping experience with merchandise that appeals to the downtown customer and an updated store environment that offers physical appeal and enhanced convenience,” Bill Tracy, resident and chief executive officer of The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. said in a written statement. “We’re equally excited about upgrading our corporate office to create state-of-the-art space that will enhance the day-to-day experience of our associates and help them be more energized, innovative and collaborative.”

The renovation will include increased natural light, new interior lighting, loft-like ceilings, open stairways, glass walls added to offices and conference rooms.

New associate common areas will be added, updated break rooms with healthier vending options, and an updated town hall meeting space with an enhanced sound and projection system.

“When we acquired 331 W. Wisconsin, it was in the hope that we could help The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. achieve their goal to maintain their iconic retail and headquarters presence while offering a superior experience to their employees and customers,” James Fox, co-founder and CEO of North Wells Capital said in a statement. “This lease agreement not only ensures our mutual success in this location, but also represents an important step in the revitalization of downtown Milwaukee.”

Bon-Ton has struggled for years and has not turned an annual profit since 2010. Tracy became CEO in August after the resignation of Kathryn Bufano. Earlier this year, S&P Global Market Intelligence named Bon-Ton as one of 10 retail companies most at risk to file for bankruptcy.

To help keep the store and the corporate headquarters downtown, the Milwaukee Common Council approved a deal early this year to provide $1.9 million in city funds to Bon-Ton to keep the Boston Store and the Bon-Ton corporate offices in the building through 2028. The deal keeps 750 jobs in downtown Milwaukee, according to a city document on the deal.

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