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The Resurgence of Six Corners

At one time, Six Corners - Milwaukee, Irving Park and Cicero, was the largest shopping district outside of downtown Chicago. You could find a variety of restaurants, shoe stores, doctors, dentists, bakeries, record shops, specialty stores and the granddaddy of them all, Sears - the ultimate go-to store for everything anyone could possibly need, from clothing to tires and jewelry to tv’s. And of course, there was – and thankfully still is, the iconic Portage

There was something about "going shopping" back in the day that made it an adventure rather than a chore. Instead of sitting at a computer, starring at a monitor and clicking to place an order, we called a friend, sometimes got dressed-up and created a fun and memorable adventure. We actually tried on clothes, chatted up the shopkeepers and store clerks, actually had someone help us try on our shoes, ran from one shop to another, almost always got a free sample from somewhere, and then topped the day off by eating out. Whether it was getting the kids clothes for the new school year, looking at new furniture or finding the perfect dress for a big party, going shopping was fun - even if, you went home empty-handed!

Then, for a variety of reasons, Six Corners, like many other shopping hubs throughout the city began to lose its luster. It’s hard to pinpoint one single cause for the decline but slowly and surely, empty storefronts multiplied and shoppers went elsewhere (hello Amazon) and soon even Sears vanished.

Our shopping habits have evolved and city planners and local leaders are scurrying to adapt. One lesson learned is that we have a lot of empty retail space and we need to better utilize it. How would you solve this issue?

On the upside, a new senior residential development is rising on the corner last occupied by Bank of America. Clarendale Six Corners is underway and will feature mixed use retail and senior residences. See more photos from

The redevelopment of the Sears property is being met with welcome anticipation and positive reviews. There will be luxury apartments, commercial space and ample parking.

Photo credits:

Nadig Newspaper/Bank of America

Wikipedia/Portage Theater

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