GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- One of the last remnants of the old Port Plaza Mall in downtown Green Bay could soon be getting new life and it's a building the city has had its eye on because it owns the parking lot next to it, which has major development potential.
The top half of the Bay Lake City Center building, which used to be the Boston Store, could soon be known as City Center Lofts.
“It is a unique reuse of a commercial building,” said Neil Stechschulte, the city’s economic development director. “It's not something we see very often.”
“We think we have a really nice plan,” said Paul Belschner, President and CEO of Base Companies.
Belschner recently told Green Bay's Redevelopment Authority he plans to convert the 70,000 square foot space on the building's second floor into 72 market-rate apartment units.
He came up with the plan while eating at Koko's Sushi, which used to be on the first floor.
“I was with my kids eating over at their outdoor patio,” said Belschner. “My kids are 20ish now. They were like 'hey this would be a cool place to live.'”
The Baylake City Center building is currently broken up into 13 units. Belschner says an LLC he has owns seven of the units, including all six on the top floor.
Belschner says the tenants on the first floor would remain.
The city's AuthentiCity Plan, drafted in 2014, called for the building to be taken down and combined with the Redevelopment Authority-owned parking lot next to it.
In 2018, talk of the city trying to acquire the building was paired with major development proposals, including one from Belschner’s Base Companies and Barsan Construction for 16 and 11 story buildings on the site.
“We had a couple of projects proposed there in the past, but for a variety of reasons, mostly financial, the amount of TIF requests that were being asked, the numbers just quite didn't make sense,” said Stechschulte.
Recently, Stechschulte says the parking lot has been actively marketed. The city would like to see development with more density and height.
“It's got the advantage of being right across the street from the parking ramp and it's a great location for being in proximity of all the other downtown businesses, so we think it has good potential,” said Stechschulte.
As for the apartments, interior demolition could begin within the next few weeks with units being available late next fall.