Walmart out, other developers emerge for Larsen Green

GREEN BAY – Green Bay’s mayor says there are two new buyers for the Larsen Green property in the city’s downtown.

That news comes less than a day after Walmart said it will no longer pursue that location for a Supercenter.

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt says he already has received a written offer for the property. He isn’t naming either of the interested developers.

Schmitt says the two new developers are ready to fulfill the city’s vision for mixed use development at the Larsen Green property.

“The fact that we’ve gotten in the last 24 hours, two very credible inquiries, one in writing, I think that bodes well and we still may do a national search,” said Schmitt. “I don’t know where we’re going to go with this yet.”

Schmitt says both developers expressed interest in bringing a mix of commercial and residential development, along with a grocery store, and preserving one or both of the historic buildings on the site.

“No one has called me wanting to put in a big box or raise that whole area,” said Schmitt.

One thing that is unclear is who a developer would be purchasing the property from. On Broadway, Inc. currently owns it, but the city could soon take over ownership along with a $3 million loan due on the property.

“We’re hoping this is a legitimate opportunity, not just an opportunistic one,” said Christopher Naumann, the executive director of On Broadway, Inc. “If this is something that is legitimate and it’s going to be strong development, we’re very pleased we don’t have to go into foreclosure.”

“One of the bigger players in here is the bank,” said Schmitt. “The bank made the loan to OBI. If they’re willing to work with OBI longer to extend the loan, which is a failed project and kind of a dysfunctional organization, I just don’t know that I see the bank extending the loan.”

On Wednesday, Walmart issued a critical statement of the city’s approach to new development.

“The level of political and administrative resistance we faced within the City government should be chilling to any business looking to move into or expand in Green Bay,” wrote Mitch Cox, Walmart’s regional general manager.

The city’s goal is for new development at the site to provide between $30 million and $40 million in tax base.

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