TOWN OF BROOKFIELD – A movie theater, luxury apartments, a market square and an enormous parking garage.

There’s a lot of exciting elements to the town of Brookfield’s new crown jewel, The Corners, but as most residents are fully aware, the process was quite complicated. Fortunately for developers Bradford Real Estate Company and IM Properties, Baltimore-based design architect DDG had ample experience to design what they wanted.

“DDG did some of the first open-air town centers in the U.S. and we’ve taken some of those lessons and gone and transported those into some of our international centers,” DDG Chairman Bryce Turner said. “The idea and the vision were to create a new urban center to be a special place for Brookfield.”

Turner and DDG President Tony van Vliet noted that they’ve observed a trend in recent years of more large-scale retail centers having a goal of being like The Corners.

“The projects that are being put on our drawing boards are definitely more mixed-use focus, so this was a little bit of pioneering in how much mixed-use to put in there,” van Vliet said.

Plenty of residential space

The Corners is anchored by Wisconsin’s first Von Maur department store and includes hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail and restaurant space as well as 244 luxury apartments.

“This is fairly aggressive in the number of apartments they have. The trend has definitely gone more to putting residential (above retail),” van Vliet said. “We find that a lot of tenants prefer to go into these mixed-use environments, these lifestyle environments. That’s definitely the trend.”

For DDG, one of the more complicated but exciting parts of the center is its 1,400-stall parking garage, which not only serves its intended purpose, but also helped to give The Corners more visibility and exposure.

“The site is beautiful and has great frontage on I-94 and Bluemound Road, but it’s in a bit of a hole; it’s in a bit of a depression, so there was some challenging topography on the site,” Turner said. “So to resolve the issue, we raised the project and sort of put it on a podium. We gave a nice 20-foot height to the parking area, which makes it feel very grand and safe and well lit. We took what could’ve been a detriment and turned it into a key amenity.”

One of the most memorable images of The Corners’ construction process came early on as 265 concrete columns were erected, each weighing approximately 12,440 pounds. In total, approximately 40,000 tons of concrete was used to complete the structure.