Building up attractions

Hotel Northland, Titletown Brewing Co. among projects underway in Green Bay

Posted on Aug 1, 2016 :: Economic Development
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

In the coming year or so, the city of Green Bay will witness the completion of a number of projects designed to help attract visitors and create stronger amenities for area residents.

Among them include the highly anticipated restoration of the historic Hotel Northland, a $44 million project to update the 1924 downtown venue.

“Ultimately this hotel is really bringing back a very celebrated property to the people of Green Bay,” says Brigette Breitenbach, spokesperson for KPH Construction. “1924 is when Hotel Northland originally opened its doors, and at the time, it was truly the grand dame of hotels in the state of Wisconsin.”

When completed, the hotel will have 160 guest rooms and 10,000 square feet of meeting space in the historic Crystal Ballroom. It also will include a meeting floor attached to the parking garage that includes several board rooms.

The project will include a full-service restaurant called the Walnut Room, a sports bar called the Gridiron Tavern, and a lower-level club for hotel guests and local residents with a membership.

In mid-July, the hotel was completing framing as well as electrical and plumbing work, Breitenbach says. “They have maintained over 85 percent local contractors and subcontractors, which was a goal.”

If all goes according to plan, major construction will be completed by the end of February with an anticipated opening date of April, Breitenbach says.

In the months between completion and opening, the hotel will install technology and furniture as well as get the staff in place and trained to prepare for a grand opening, she says.

“It brings to the community a very modern luxury hotel that is approachable for today’s business traveler, while it appreciates and respects the history of the property,” Breitenbach says.

The project is led by owners Mike Frantz, owner of Frantz Community Investments, and Keith Harenda, who also owns contractor KPH Construction, which is leading the renovation. The restoration is being funded through a number of other sources, including a WHEDA grant and a Section 108 loan through the Department of Housing and Urban Development secured through the city, as well as the sale of historic tax credits through the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office.

The hotel will feature a fresh, new interior design while still meeting National Historic Registry standards for restoration, she says.

“We hope it will continue to be a springboard for the development that’s currently happening in downtown Green Bay,” Breitenbach says.

Titletown Brewery in next phase of construction

The second construction phase of the Titletown Brewing Co. project on Broadway Street in downtown Green Bay has been underway for about six months, says Jim Kratowicz, COO of Titletown Brewing Co.

“We have the first tenants moving in at the end of October,” Kratowicz says.

The first phase of the project, which included restoration of 60,000 square feet of abandoned warehouse space at 320 N. Broadway St., home of the Cannery Public Market and the Titletown Roof Tap, quickly attracted about 11 area tenants.

“We conservatively planned that we would be the only tenant probably for the first 18 months to two years,” Kratowicz says. “We actually had the entire building full in 13 months.”

Work on the adjoining 70,000 square feet of property included opening up bricked-over windows to help provide ideal views from the office space, he says. Kratowicz says some businesses are interested in entire floors of the new space.

“There’s a lot of business reasons to do what we’re doing, but really the neat thing is we’re creating a destination for downtown,” Kratowicz says. The occupied building seems to alternate between a “vibrant business office space during the day and more of an entertainment-driven facility at night and on weekends.”

Kratowicz says restored warehouse spaces are often attractive to tenants, and having the brewery anchor adds to the interest. “Craft beer is so hot that we create this cool-kid trendy place where people also want to work,” he says.

That also helps to create kind of a community feel to the building, where “on a Wednesday or a Thursday, you can see 15 or 20 tenants who don’t work together out drinking a beer at the end of the day,” Kratowicz says.

“It’s kind of created this destination. It’s a real robust, relaxed work environment.”

Titletown Brewing Co. also is working with the city of Green Bay to purchase 16 acres of vacant property north of Kellogg Street, which could be developed for multiple uses, including residential, professional and retail, as well as a green space, Kratowicz says.

Such projects are attractive both to Millennials as well as empty-nesters.

“We’ve already had probably a half a dozen people inquire about either building or renting down here because they live somewhere warm in the wintertime and don’t want a house to maintain,” he says.

Titletown District a flurry of activity

Construction is underway on the Titletown District project, a 34-acre development planned for the area west of Lambeau Field to create a destination for Packers fans and visitors.

“We’re very excited with everything going on with the development district,” says Aaron Popkey, director of public affairs for the Green Bay Packers. So are area businesses and residents who have been making inquiries into available space, he says.

In April, anchor tenant Kohler Co. broke ground on Lodge Kohler, a four-diamond hotel development on the property. The hotel will feature a panoramic restaurant on its fifth floor, a garden spa, outdoor cigar terrace and indoor-outdoor pool.

The Titletown District project also will include the 20,000-square-foot Hinterland Restaurant and Brewery, which broke ground June 16, Popkey says. A sports medicine clinic operated by Bellin Health will start construction later this summer, followed by a 10-acre public plaza. Plans for phase two of the project will be announced early this fall, he says.

The Packers plan to invest $65 million in the project, which is anticipated to cost between $120 million and $130 million. The main part of the project is expected to be complete by fall 2017