Broadway businesses disappointed over sunken Shipyard project

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News was the first to report that the Green Bay Bullfrogs announced a deal for a $10 million multi-purpose stadium facility in Ashwaubenon.

Businesses on Broadway in downtown Green Bay

A new stadium had been the focus of Green Bay’s "Shipyard" development project in the Broadway district. Now, business owners there are left shaking their heads and hoping for better news in the future.

Business owners on Broadway saw the Shipyard project as a way to liven up the district.

"The businesses down here are doing well in our own right, but it would be really good to augment the area and bookend the Broadway district with the Railyard (development project) on the north end and the Shipyard on the south end," said Kurt Schwiesow, owner of Pete’s Garage on Broadway.

"It's hard to think of something that can fill that space and anchor it the same way a sports complex could, but certainly we would hope for something to fill that space," said Alex Galt, owner of Kavarna Coffeehouse on Broadway.

Brian Johnson, executive director of on Broadway Incorporated, often gave the city input on the Shipyard. Johnson is running for city council to represent the 9th district, which includes the Shipyard site.

“I think a vast majority of the businesses are very disappointed. They saw this as a boon to the district. I mean, when you put developments like this in, they often result in other interest in vacant or undeveloped sites, and there's plenty of them on that southern end of the district," said Johnson.

Even though the plans to redevelop the Shipyard fell through, Johnson says he's optimistic of what the future holds for the area.

"I think it's important that we look at this and see the opportunity that exists. There are other things that can be put there, there's other developments that we can pursue," Johnson says.

Schwiesow says he’d like to see green space, retail or homes take over the Shipyard area, adding that anything is better than a vacant lot.

"Someone else is going to move in. It'll move forward," said Schwiesow.
"Hopefully we'll have learned our lesson and clear an easier path for the next developer to move in and make use of that area."

"I would suggest that the council really, you know, put more faith in the city administration and the role they play in economic development," said Galt.

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