Green Bay RDA approves transformative plans on east and west sides

Artist concept of west-side stadium

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – The Green Bay Redevelopment Authority moved forward Tuesday with three major development projects that could transform areas on both sides of the city.

Two of those proposals are on the east side, at the East Town Mall and the Cub Foods building next door on East Mason Street.

The committee approved a plan to turn the former Cub Foods into a retail shopping center.

A Chicago developer wants to gut the building and fill it with three or four mid-size box stores because there’s not as much demand for big box stores. That plan now heads to the city council for its approval.

The RDA also voted to send plans to redevelop East Town Mall back to the city council. The plan could turn the mall literally inside-out, with storefronts facing out. The committee had extensive closed-door discussions about financing issues and approved the proposal, but said the developer needs to realize “there is skepticism” about bringing business to the mall without another facet added, like maybe a branch of the Brown County Library.

The committee also discussed plans for the future of a site on West Mason Street, where developers have proposed building a large events space right along the Fox River.

Action 2 News has been reporting the multi-purpose sports facility proposal that was approved Tuesday afternoon and will be sent to the city council for its approval.

But the complex proposal took on a whole new light Tuesday afternoon when developers explained how they saw the entire area near South Broadway and Mason being transformed into Green Bay’s newest neighborhood.

The complex developer, Big Top Baseball, which owns the Green Bay Bullfrogs baseball team, wants to use the site not just for baseball but also for soccer, football, community events and concerts. They’re calling the area “The Shipyard.”

We learned it would also include an Anduzzi’s Restaurant and a 2,000-person indoor concert venue.

They want to make use of the waterfront by adding access off the riverbank for boaters and kayakers.

The City of Green Bay has owned the undeveloped piece of land for 30 years.

Green Bay Economic Development and a handful of developers have worked on every facet of this plan for months.

Their hope is the stadium will be a catalyst for private development nearby and be part of a larger, more comprehensive development plan for the area.

“It starts with the stadium, then you get the restaurant and the concert venue to kind of create an entertainment district, and we think that will spur additional housing and investment in the neighborhood to kind of really create a whole new district on the south end of Broadway,” Big Top Baseball CEO Conor Caloia said.

“When you talk about catalyst opportunities, housing is certainly one of those side effects that is going to happen, and of course the opportunity to develop the neighborhoods that currently exist,” Brian Johnson of On Broadway Inc. said.

“We care about this neighborhood. We’re investing in it. This is the place that we want to put our next great facility. You know, I think that really helps in terms of sending a signal to investors for development but then also to the neighborhood. We really hope that this is going to be a really great place for those up and coming, some active seniors, retirees, that this is really the place to invest your money, fix up a home and have a great place to live,” Kevin Vonck, Director of Green Bay Development, said.

A map shows the development broken into four sections. Besides The Shipyard, the city hopes to add housing in the North section, a continuation of the Broadway District in the Broadway section, and retail in the West section.

Before the complex was approved, many area groups came forward in support of the project, including the Green Bay Area Public School District.

West High School has been raising funds for a football field but would be allowed to use this proposed complex for high school football and soccer games.

The council will start discussing the proposal next Tuesday.