City of Green Bay counters new Walmart proposal

GREEN BAY – The City of Green Bay is proposing alternate options to Walmart for a downtown store.

Green Bay’s mayor and city developers say they’d like to see a lot more than a Walmart on the 15 acres of Broadway property the retail giant wants to build on.

“I think these are some real viable options they need to take a look at,” said Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.

Schmitt says the city sent a site plan to Walmart last week, countering the retail giant’s latest proposal. The city’s proposal calls for a two-story, 150,000 square foot store, along with a parking ramp and four other buildings for mixed use development.

“I think that’s a big move on the city’s part to say look we’ll give in to the 150,000 we just want the design to be a little more urban,” said Schmitt.

Walmart’s plan calls for a 154,000 square foot store on one level, with more than 600 parking spots. The plan also allows for mixed use, as long as it’s built above 500,000 square feet of Walmart parking.

In a statement, Walmart spokesperson Delia Garcia writes “it’s unfortunate that city staff’s narrow perspective prevents an appreciation for the real, positive impact of the current proposal which, in its totality, advances the City’s vision for multi-use and high-density in the Broadway corridor and fills a need for retail and grocery store development.”

Schmitt says if Walmart won’t budge, it should build less than a half mile away on Velp Avenue.

He also says he believes other developers would build next to Walmart if it opts for the city’s plan.

“I think there is some interest we could find. We don’t have it today, but I think there is a lot more interest in building next to a two-story Walmart than there is, well there would be no land if they took the whole 15 acres with one story,” said Schmitt.

According to Walmart, there are about $2 million of environmental issues that need to be taken care of at the site before any development happens. Walmart says it would pay for that under its proposal.

However, Schmitt says if Walmart only buys part of the site, there are other government funding options to cover the cost of site cleanup.

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