GREEN BAY – Green Bay’s mayor says he’s still not sold, after retailer Walmart changes its plans for a downtown store.
Mayor Jim Schmitt says the size of the store is still too large for the Broadway District site, known as Larsen Green.
However, Walmart says they feel the changed plans fit the downtown’s image.
Walmart’s last store proposal before the city was essentially blocked. The city council voted to change how the land is used. It now calls for a mix of retail, office and residential.
With the yet-to-be unveiled re-designs in their arms, Walmart officials walked into the mayor’s office Monday morning.
After the meeting, company spokeswoman Lisa Nelson says the biggest change is in the building’s height, helping it better fit in with the district’s character.
FOX 11’s Bill Miston asked Nelson why the basics of the plan – a 150,000-plus square foot, one-story store – are still on the table?
“For 18 months, we’ve been very clear that we can’t go down on store size and we can’t build a multi-level store here,” said Nelson. “This is about building a successful store that will serve our customers in Green Bay.”
“I did not hear a plan today that I could support,” said Schmitt.
Schmitt says while some changes were made to the color of the brick facade, and its height, that’s where Walmart’s efforts stopped.
“I still believe it’s better suited for them and for the neighbors to have it on Velp Avenue,” he said. “They are committed to the Broadway site.”
A property not owned by the city, but On Broadway, Inc.
The big box discount retailer says it’s doing what the city wants.
“We’re meeting what their vision is down on Broadway and we’re looking for solutions,” said Nelson, which includes setting parts of the site for additional development.
Council president Tom DeWane didn’t sit in on the meeting Monday, but says he’s seen the changes and likes them.
“If this doesn’t get approved by the council, I think it’s done because they went above and beyond – I don’t know what more they can do,” DeWane said at city hall. “(Walmart) worked hard on this.”
There’s no set timeline for this proposal. But On Broadway’s executive director Chris Naumann says Walmart has until early June to either get something done with the city or break the purchase agreement.