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Festival Foods' Skogen looks to fulfill concert venue dream in downtown Green Bay

A rendering of the indoor concert venue being proposed as part of "The Shipyard". (Photo Courtesy: City of Green Bay)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- As a rock and roll fan, Festival Foods CEO Mark Skogen has had a hand in bringing nationally touring acts to the Green Bay area in the past. He hopes building his own concert venue, a longtime dream of his, will make it even easier.

“Everybody has got a passion and music has been mine,” said Skogen. “There's always some challenges with scheduling when you don't control the building. When we've used other places, they've got other things going on, so just been talking about this for a few years now and closer to getting it complete.”

FOX 11 first reported on Tuesday about the pitch for a new downtown entertainment district called “The Shipyard.” Skogen would own the indoor concert venue that would be attached to the new stadium the Bullfrogs’ owners are looking to build. An Anduzzi’s restaurant is also part of the plan.

The site is on the west edge of the Fox River, next to the Mason Street Bridge.

Skogen's venue would likely be general admission with an open, flat, first level and a balcony with views overlooking the stage and the stadium playing field. Capacity would be 2,000 people.

“Some of the best venues of this size in the country have a balcony level around them, whether that be just for general seating or VIP areas, just kind of makes it more intimate when you've got 2,000 people that close when you can stack them like that,” said Skogen.

Skogen isn't sure how many concerts the venue will host in a year. The number will be in addition to the 4 to 6 outdoor concerts the Bullfrogs owners plan to annually book The outdoor concerts would hold between 5,000 and 8,000 people.

“It's competition to a certain degree because there are only so many touring acts out there and now if you have the Weidner bidding, the Meyer bidding, and the PAC bidding, now you have another person throwing their hat in the ring, but hopefully competition makes people better,” said Ken Wachter, president and CEO of PMI Entertainment Group, which books the Resch Center, Meyer Theatre, and Brown County Arena.

Wachter warns there are risks with both outdoor and indoor venues.

“The bands get paid, you're always risking dollars,” said Wachter. “But it's a great location. We looked at doing things down at that location years ago. We thought it was a great location on the water, so hopefully that will work for somebody this time around.”

“The key will be we want to get this area used to going to shows,” said Skogen. “If we have a great venue like that, hopefully that will be regular part of those that live here's life. They're looking for what show are we going to next.”

Festival Foods is not part of Skogen’s project. However, Skogen says he plans to incorporate marketing and communication strategies learned though Festival in his concert venue.

Skogen says he isn’t ready to announce a name for the venue, but it will likely mesh music and baseball together.

The stadium must be approved for Skogen to move forward with his project.

The city council is expected to take up a term sheet for the stadium next week. It calls for the city to pay $8 million upfront for the stadium's $9 million price tag. The Bullfrogs would pay back $4 million through a 20-year lease.

The city is also negotiating with developers to build 120 to 160 housing units just north of the stadium. The city hopes both projects will spark new mixed-use development along Broadway, and improvements to neighboring homes.

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