What else could downtown Waukesha use? More foot traffic

Panos Fresh Market, in downtown Waukesha since 2003, closed last year. The store remains empty and city officials said while a small grocery store is most requested more foot traffic is needed for one to survive downtown.
Published on: 8/25/2014

New apartments will help bring more people downtown, but something more is needed to fill the holes and vacancies in Waukesha's central commercial district.

Filling the unused office space in downtown needs to continue to be an area of focus, said Catherine Huelsman, general manager of Berg Management.

"That would generate a lot more foot traffic during the daytime," she said.

Jeff Fortin, the city's Community Development Specialist, agreed foot traffic is a key in adding more businesses, including a small-scale grocery store, which he added was a type of store that was most requested from a study done in the Central City Master Plan.

But a grocery store won't happen until more people are living downtown to add to the overall density of downtown, Fortin said.

In the meantime, the proposed new apartments could offer downtown a boost.

"These new apartments are all walkable to restaurants, art galleries, the riverfront," Fortin said, "so it's an exciting time to see these developments come to downtown."