Been to downtown Green Bay Lately? How about Appleton or Sturgeon Bay?
If you haven’t explored the nearby downtowns outside your own community in the past couple of years, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Much has changed — and quite a lot is under development now.
What’s really exciting is that so many new projects embrace the things we love: waterfronts, walkability, historic renovation. These are all characteristics of cities that our past speakers at Insight’s annual InDevelopment event have emphasized as key to vibrant downtowns. They’re also precisely what creative, talented people are looking for when they decide where they want to live and work.
Our sixth annual InDevelopment conference is coming up from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Green Bay. In this issue, we feature a special insert devoted to the event — the first time we’ve offered a somewhat comprehensive look at the hottest projects in the works in the coming year. We’re pleased to be able to share it with all our Insight readers, whether you’re involved in commercial and economic development or just interested in what’s coming up. New commercial construction, expanded office, industrial space and residential projects change the landscape for all of us.
Having grown up in southern Door County, Green Bay was the place we shopped. I’m sure many of you remember the old Pranges store, when it was an old-fashioned downtown department store, and then later, part of the Port Plaza Mall. It was quite the hopping place … in the early years. I’ll admit I felt a pang of nostalgia when I saw the wrecking balls have at it a couple years ago.
Since the new CityDeck project has gone up along the Fox River, and the Broadway District has blossomed, there’s no looking back. It’s impressive.
Other projects are stirring excitement in Green Bay, too. The 30,000-square-foot expansion of the KI Convention Center, along with the new Hampton Inn connecting it to the riverfront (plus new restaurant and retail space adjacent to both) will certainly make a splash when they open late summer. Two blocks away, the complete renovation and restoration of the historic Hotel Northland promises to bring a touch of elegance when it opens in two years. Then, the expansion of the Meyer Theatre — called Backstage at the Meyer — will be another exciting project, including office space for the company Breakthrough Fuel on the second floor, complete with a rooftop patio.
Jeff Mirkes of Downtown Green Bay and Olde Main Street was especially helpful as our Insight staff pulled together descriptions of the development under way in Green Bay. He’s looking forward to seeing the developers for these and other projects from throughout the New North at InDevelopment.
“A lot of these projects we’re talking about have been in the news lately — they’re really making this conference come alive,” Mirkes said, referring not only to Green Bay but Sturgeon Bay and other parts the region, as well. “So many developments are coming out of the ground at this point.”
From the testimonials, our keynote speaker T.J. Brooks should get the conference off in an informative, yet fun way: “Brooks continues to turn out large crowds, for both his insightful analysis of the economy and his entertaining, and often times laugh-out-loud delivery.”
Though it’s geared especially for developers, all are welcome. I hope to see you there!