East Town Mall redevelopment might not start until April 2019

East Town Mall on Green Bay's east side on September 12, 2017. (Photo credit: WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- It could be as long as a year and a half before a redevelopment plan starts at Green Bay's East Town Mall.

It's been almost a year since FOX 11 first told you about a New Jersey developer's plan to buy and revamp the struggling mall.

A proposed development agreement for the East Town Mall plan states construction must begin before April 2019.

The mall's new owner, GBES Owner I LLC, wants to change East Town's traditional mall setup of interior store entrances to more of a strip mall layout. There would be four mid-size retailers, including a sporting goods store and grocery store.

“They just want to make sure they can have these pieces in place in order to move forward, so I think they're just allowing for enough time,” said Kevin Vonck, the city’s economic development director. “There is no penalty if they wanted to do things sooner.”

The developer is still entertaining ideas for what to put in the old Budget Cinema spot. The original plan was for Brown County to move its east branch library into the space. However, county leaders say that idea is no longer being considered.

“The theater is a tough space,” said Vonck. “Look, a theater can really be reused as a theater. It doesn't have the great commercial frontage to Mason Street.”

The city and developer are looking at destination-type businesses to fill the space like a medical or education center.

The city's redevelopment authority passed East Town's development agreement. It includes a $1.5 million project grant from the city for environmental remediation. The city could pitch in more through tax incremental financing.

The city council is expected to vote on the agreement next week.

The development agreement calls for the property value to be $18 million upon the project’s completion. The city’s current value for the property is $7.3 million. However, the owner contends the property’s value is about $3 million.

Meanwhile, the neighboring Cub Foods redevelopment project is progressing. Construction work continues to turn the former grocery store building into a Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls, and PetSmart.

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