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Former downtown Boston Store reopens as business space Hub 640

You'd be forgiven if you didn't know Boston Store was actually founded in Milwaukee. (This podcaster and lifelong Milwaukee somehow missed that, too). But the original, flagship store was in downtown Milwaukee on the corner of Vel R. Phillips and Wisconsin Avenue, and it existed there for nearly 125 years.

As the decades crawled on, business began to dwindle at Boston Store, and in 2018, the location closed permanently. With the adjoining Shops of Grand Avenue also taking a hit over the years, both the mall and the Boston Store location represented major question marks for the city.

But looking ahead to September, a new food hall will be unveiled inside the former mall food court and is expected to breathe much needed life back into the space. The old Boston Store -- which extends nearly an entire city block -- will similarly be repurposed into a business hub.

The new project, Hub 640, is "a complex that aims to mix office and retail across nearly 300,000 square feet," writes OnMilwaukee's Bobby Tanzilo, and will offer configurable office spaces depending on tenants' needs.

On this week's episode of Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee's Bobby and I discuss the future of the sprawling downtown space, and we also get into the history of the Boston Store in Milwaukee.

Listen below and visit OnMilwaukee for even more history and photos.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee