Property: The Avenue
Developers: Hempel Real Estate, Interstate Development Partners
Architects: Holabird & Roche (original), The Kubala Washatko Architects (renovation)
Eden Prairie, Minnesota–based developer and manager Hempel Real Estate has converted Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue Mall, which closed in 2019, into a mixed-use property known as the Avenue, adding office space, a new food hall and two apartment complexes: the 50-unit Plankinton Clover and 138-unit Playbill Flats.
The property retains the original structure of the mall, originally built in 1982. Plankinton Clover living units range from studios to two bedrooms, and include 12-foot ceilings, vinyl plank flooring, in-unit laundry, stainless steel appliances and floor-to-ceiling windows in select units, according to the property website. Plankinton Clover units located on an internal walkway have private glass-front veranda entrances converted from former storefronts.
The Playbill Flats, located in a taller tower next door, also range from studios to two bedrooms and offer many of the same features, including the vinyl-plank flooring and stainless steel appliances. Townhome units are also available.
The properties, connected via internal passage, also share amenity offerings, including a clubroom, a fitness center, a dog wellness area including an agility course and wash station, garage parking and a pickleball court located on a former lower-level mall promenade. The residential component also directly connects to The Avenue’s retail across the street, including the 3rd Street Market Hall, a food hall and gaming space, which was the last portion of The Avenue to open in late 2021.
The Plankinton Clover went viral online, as reported by Yahoo, when a TikTok user named Sarita shared several videos of the property on her account. The initial clip shows the interior atrium, spotlighting the pickleball court and the glass-front foyers, while follow-ups include a tour of the gym and a one-bedroom apartment renting for $1,700.
Sarita’s video has been viewed over 1.5 million times and gathered over 5,000 comments since it was first posted. Commenters raved about the project’s sustainable nature and proximity to a food court.
Apartment tours are a fixture on the app, which is known for its popularity with Gen Z, an emerging target demographic of apartment properties. While Plankinton Clover’s popularity stemmed from the attention of a casual observer, multifamily companies have also worked with influencers, or taken to the app themselves, in order to promote their properties.
Mollie Elkman, social media expert and owner and president of Group Two Advertising, told Multifamily Dive that TikTok users looking for apartments on the platform are generally seeking out a “window into a lifestyle.”
“When you’re creating video content on TikTok, it’s really not effective if it comes across as promotional or as an ad in any kind of way,” Elkman said. “This is a platform to really show your personality, show your team, show what you do. It’s much more about being relatable and real.