Walmart’s fate now rests with city council

Pictured is an architectural rendering of the front facade of the proposed Broadway Walmart store, submitted to the city on January 6, 2013. The rendering includes updated elements, such as glass paneling, compared to a Sept. 2013 design.
Pictured is an architectural rendering of the front facade of the proposed Broadway Walmart store, submitted to the city on January 6, 2013. The rendering includes updated elements, such as glass paneling, compared to a Sept. 2013 design.

GREEN BAY – Walmart still wants to build a Supercenter store on Broadway, but it will be more of an uphill battle because of Green Bay’s plan commission decision late Monday night.

Walmart’s fate now rests in the hands of Green Bay’s city council.

“We look forward to working with the city council,” said Lisa Nelson, a spokesperson for Walmart.

In March, the city council will take up the plan commission’s recommendation to classify the Broadway property as ‘downtown.’ That classification calls for mixed use on the property, with little chance of a big box being built there.

“We will have a grocery store down here,” said Jim Schmitt, Green Bay’s mayor. “It may or not be Walmart, but on that area it could also have some restaurants, entertainment, some housing, more appropriate uses for a downtown environment.”

If the city council disagrees with the plan commission’s recommendation, it could delay a decision or refer the recommendation back to the plan commission.

“The door is still open for Walmart based on last night’s decision of the plan commission, but could they come in with the same design they have now?” said Nic Sparacio, a planner for the city. “I think that would be extremely difficult for them to get something like that approved at this point.”

Approval of the plan commission’s recommendation from the city council would mean Walmart would either have to compromise on its plan or find a new property. So far, Walmart has shown zero desire for either of those options.

“We’re committed to a 150,000 square foot store,” said Nelson.

“We had said with that super store that there may be some other places within blocks of that area that have more appropriate zoning and we’re hoping they relook that,” said Schmitt.

FOX 11 talked with a majority of Green Bay’s twelve council members since the plan commission’s decision. Two council members said they disagree with the recommendation. A handful have said they’re leaning with the commission, but will use the next 30 days to weigh their decision. Only one expressed total support of the plan commission’s decision.

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