Georgia-Pacific's expansion plan in Green Bay is put on hold 'indefinitely'

Published: Aug. 12, 2019 at 5:24 PM CDT
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Georgia-Pacific's plan to expand its operating footprint in Green Bay has been put on hold.

Hoping to expand its already large facility along the banks of the Fox River, Georgia-Pacific was in the process of asking the City of Green Bay to approve a conditional use permit.

The company said the permit would allow it to expand its current Broadway mill operations by 458,000 square feet. It would streamline the paper production process by adding a wet paper machine, among other additional buildings and equipment.

“There’s already activity on the site, so for them to expand, add tax base and more jobs, it’s typically a good thing,” said Alderman Brian Johnson.

The planning commission was supposed to talk about the permit Monday night, but a letter sent to the city Monday morning said Georgia-Pacific has decided to “indefinitely postpone their mill expansion.”

“A company the size of Georgia-Pacific obviously has a lot of facilities and billions of dollars in capital projects, and so the priorities for those can change from time to time, so all it is, is that the project in Green Bay has fallen a little farther down the priority list,” said Mike Kawleski, public affairs manager for Georgia-Pacific in Green Bay.

Instead of taking it completely off the table, the company's letter asks the city to keep the request on file for future action "if the project moves forward" at some point in the future.

“I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Like any project, especially when you talking tens of millions, maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars, it takes a lot of time and planning and foresight,” said Johnson. “So we are excited about their interest in the site, we will just have to wait a bit longer for that to come to fruition.”

Although the expansion plans have been put on hold, Kawleski said the company will move forward with its plan to add its second natural gas boiler next year.

“Which will mean that the Broadway facility will completely quit its use of coal, so that will be a big change for this facility which is celebrating 100 years this year,” said Kawleski.