Milwaukee Common Council approves $1.2 million Boston Store bailout

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by Shakara Robinson

MILWAUKEE -- The Common Council voted 11-3 to give city funds to save a struggling downtown retail store and its corporate office.

Just eight days ago, the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee voted to give $1.2 million to Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. to help the company keep Boston Store retail and office space at its current location on 4th & Wisconsin.

Wednesday morning the full Milwaukee Common Council voted to do the same. Aldermen Joe Davis, Bob Donovan, and Joe Dudzik all voted against ths measure.

City leaders said this vote will keep 750 corporate jobs in Milwaukee.

According to city documents, the four-year project would give no more than $300,000 a year to Bon-Ton through 2018.

Boston Store has been leasing on a year-to-year basis since its lease expired in January 2012 and the store is not profitable, according to city documents.

Money would support leasehold improvements, equipment, advertising and store promotion. 

Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy says keeping the 750 jobs is worth the $1.2 million investment.

Bon-Ton would receive the money from the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee through Tax Incremental District 37. 

This amendment would be the third for TID 37 since 1998 to support nearby businesses.

A previous amendment helped pay for the Marriott Hotel adjacent to the Grand Avenue Mall and another paid for the redevelopment of the former Marshall Field's building and upgrades to the Boston Store retail space.

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