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Signs point to an upgrade at Kohl's store

But company doesn't like city's preference on actual signage

June 1, 2010

West Allis — Kohl's is planning $3 million worth of renovations inside its Highway 100 department store, but, when it comes to the exterior of the store, the city isn't sold on one aspect of the company's preferences.

Kohl's wants to renovate the storefront at 2601 S. 108th St. as part of its proposed upgrades. The West Allis Plan Commission, however, approved the exterior renovation only on the condition Kohl's replace its tall Highway 100 sign with a monument-type sign, Development Director John Stibal said.

Kohl's is unwilling to part ways with that sign and told the city it could save time and money by simply not doing the exterior renovation, according to city officials. Development Department staff, in a report to Plan Commission members, said the company has indicated that the money saved would go into other Kohl's stores needing renovations.

West Allis officials hope the company makes another commitment for an exterior upgrade, but it's not clear that will happen.

A Kohl's representative could not be reached for comment before the newpaper's press deadline.

Centered on high visibility

City officials want to refresh the look of the building in large part because of its placement on Highway 100, a busy retail/commercial corridor averaging 40,000 vehicles per day.

However, Kohl's and previous tenants of the building have basically maintained the same look since it was originally developed in the 1960s, officials said.

A monument sign - generally a shorter sign that at least resembles stone or masonry - would be consistent with local ordinances and other sign approvals in West Allis, including the West Allis Towne Center and The Home Depot.

"Just as Kohl's has identified this site as an opportunity to succeed in business," the report said, "the city also seeks a similar opportunity to update and improve the image of properties along Highway 100 and the rest of the city."

Interior remodeling regardless

Kohl's told the city it still wants to proceed with internal improvements regardless of the outcome on storefront renovations.

Upgrades in West Allis would be part of Kohl's ongoing efforts to remodel stores across the country - 84 other stores will be renovated this year, according to a company press release.

The store in Oak Creek at 9035 S. Howell Ave. recently held a grand reopening event to celebrate a remodel, which included updated checkout stations, fitting rooms, restrooms and children's, jewelry and shoe departments.

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