Following Younkers closure, Manitowoc officials hope to repurpose mall property

As Lakeshore Edgewater Plaza looses one of its last remaining tenants, city officials hope the property will be redeveloped, February 5, 2018. (WLUK) 

MANITOWOC (WLUK) -- Lakeshore Edgewater Plaza was once a thriving 35-acre property in Manitowoc.

"The building is fairly empty at this point, just a couple other tenants in there," explained Nick Sparacio, city community development director.

But now it's losing one of its last remaining tenants, as Younkers prepares to close.

Sparacio, says he hopes the land can be repurposed, "There is growth happening. There's demand and significant growth in rental housing apartments. So, there are needs there, that could be used on the site."

In 2015, crews tore down the former Mid-Cities Mall, across the street from Younkers.

The property is owned by the same company as Lakeshore Plaza.

FOX 11 spoke with the management company, who says the owners do not have plans to make changes at this time. That includes closing the mall.

Experts say, trends are moving away from retail space.

"Retail is changing. We have more things like Amazon, we have the online type of retail environment," said Peter Wills, executive director at Progress Lakeshore.

The company specializes in business economic development.

"There isn't many stores left. So, I think it does get into a numbers game. Younkers would be one of the last anchors there. I think it will become much more difficult," Willis said.

He says there is great potential in the location,"It's property right across from the lake, it’s in a residential area, and I think there's a great opportunity."

Both Sparacio and Willis hope to be involved, once the owner decides what will happen to the property.

"Definitely needs that could be met on that site, if the right project comes forward," said Sparacio.

"It's what's their long-term comprehensive desire for the property,” further explained Willis.

In 2015, when the Mid-Cities Mall was torn down, the plan was to turn the space into residential, office and retail spaces.

However, according to the management company, there is still no timeline for that project.

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