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As a busy 2017 wraps up, here's a look at seven key projects that could develop in the Green Bay area in 2018. Dec. 21, 2017. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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GREEN BAY - When it was '17, it was a very good year. 

It was a very good year for small town biz

And soft Broadway nights  ...

But it will soon be 2018, and, all apologies to Frank Sinatra aside, the new year could be a very good year for business development as well.

It all depends on how several key projects can build on the progress of past years. 

From early planning of a new Expo Center in Ashwaubenon to Green Bay's efforts to develop the Shipyard and downtown housing, here's a look at the hopes and challenges ahead.

Expo Center

How did 2017 go?

Pretty good, unless you focused on how the sausage is made. In May, Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach pitched a plan to the Brown County Board to resurrect the county's 0.5 percent sales tax to be used in combination with hotel room tax revenue to pay for a new $93 million expo center and a slew of infrastructure and building renovations. Green Bay city officials balked at first, but eventually got behind a plan that resolved concerns about paying off debt for the KI Convention Center expansion by mid-August.

How’s 2018 shaping up?

There won’t be much visible progress made on the expo center in 2018. The wrecking ball won’t be coming for the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena quite yet. Instead, Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt said behind-the-scenes stuff such as architectural design plans, requests for proposals and public input sessions will lay the foundation for more tangible progress in 2019.

Chance of significant progress?

Not much, with one exception: The 0.5 percent sales tax kicks in on Jan. 1. Be ready.

RELATED: With OK from Brown County Board, $93M expo center project clears final hurdle

Hotel Northland

How did 2017 go?

Not good. No Green Bay area project had a worse 2017 than the renovation of the Hotel Northland: It started with a still unresolved ownership dispute and ended with the historic downtown hotel being put under the management of a court-appointed receiver who is tasked to finish the job and figure out what happened with the $44 million project.

How’s 2018 shaping up?

The new year might not be much better, but key players in the Hotel Northland say it will open in 2018. To get there, Receiver Paul Swanson, main creditor Octagon Credit Partners and general contractor Ganther Construction will have to pay subcontractors, get them back to work, finance completion of the project, and hire an operator to manage the hotel. All of this will take place against a backdrop of  the ongoing courtroom drama that’s sure to unfold as Swanson digs into the project.

Chance of significant progress?

High. If the Northland isn’t completed and open by the end of 2018, Octagon loses $12 million in historic tax credits it purchased to finance the project. 

RELATED: Hotel Northland work to resume in 7 to 10 days after judge OKs $8M in payments

Shipyard

How did 2017 go?

It was a nailbiter, but the Green Bay City Council on Dec. 19 approved development agreements for two key pieces of the South Broadway redevelopment effort: An indoor concert venue and the 4,000-seat outdoor events center. Still to go: reaching final development agreements with Anduzzi's for a new restaurant and Festival Foods CEO Mark Skogen for the indoor concert venue.

Two apartment developers, a minor league soccer team, two community organizations and a growing downtown business have indicated interest in developing the Shipyard if the city can cement the initial investment in the area. 

How’s 2018 shaping up?

On edge. The city will have to lock up a deal with a restaurateur or Skogen's concert hall before stadium construction and city improvements can begin. Regardless of what happens, 2018 will be a make-or-break year. 

Chance of significant progress?

Strong. Don't be surprised if two groundbreakings happen by summer (the events center and the indoor concert hall). One of those could be finished by the end of the year. Even more important will be the discussions between city officials, Breakthrough Fuel and residential developers interested in building commercial and residential projects in the area. 

RELATED: Shipyard passes Green Bay City Council on divided vote

RELATED: Breakthrough Fuel considering Shipyard for new HQ

Titletown District

How did 2017 go?

Three of Titletown District's anchor businesses opened during the year, a fourth was announced and the district's park and plaza, including an ice rink and tubing hill, opened as well. The businesses include Hinterland Brewery, Lodge Kohler hotel and Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. 

Titletown District is a nearly 45-acre development in Ashwaubenon bounded primarily by South Ridge Road, Lombardi Avenue, Brookwood Drive and Marlee Lane.

How’s 2018 shaping up?

It's going to be another year of progress. The Packers and Microsoft Corp. announced Titletown Tech, a digital lab/business accelerator/investment fund. The Titletown Tech building is expected to open in fall.

Also, the Packers are expected to announce plans for as many as 70 townhouses and an apartment building on the south edge of the district. Construction is expected to begin in 2018.

Chance of significant progress?

Count on it.

RELATED: Packers, Microsoft bring touch of Silicon Valley to Titletown District

Rail Yard

How did 2017 go?

Good. DDL Holdings, the group tasked with renovating and developing the former Larsen Canning Co. complex, finished the renovation of two more buildings. The group also succeeded in filling the majority of those buildings with companies like SharpLogixx and a tech accelerator/coworking space called T2, which will open in early 2018.

How’s 2018 shaping up?

Strong. DDL purchased the remaining 16 acres of the cannery property from the city, An Indianapolis company, TWG Development, has applied for tax credits needed to build an $18 million apartment building on 11 acres of that land, and plans have been finalized for public infrastructure improvements. 

Chance of significant progress?

Very good. Roads, sidewalks and other public improvements will begin in 2018, renovations in the final Larsen Canning buildings will likely begin, and T2 will open, helping the Rail Yard become more known as an innovation hub. 

Redevelopment areas

How did 2017 go?

Productively, if you live on the east side. The University Avenue Redevelopment Area scored three successes with Festival Foods and Kwik Trip opening, and a developer stepped forward to tackle the Packerland Packing site. The former Cub Foods building was converted into space for three national chains, two of which have opened. The city also adopted redevelopment action plans for Velp Avenue and the Legends District, east of Lambeau Field.

How’s 2018 shaping up?

Nicely, no matter where you live. Green Bay Economic Development Director Kevin Vonck expects East Town Mall’s transformation to continue, some behind-the-scenes work to happen in the Legends District, and ongoing work to take place in the Velp Avenue corridor. Add these developments to work happening downtown and along Broadway, and you’ve got another busy year.

Chance of significant progress?

Solid. If nothing else, the Packerland Packing demolition should move forward. Vonck said the city will likely focus on the things it can provide in the Legends District such as walkways, lighting and public amenities to help spur private investments. Velp Avenue, he said, might take a little longer before progress is obvious.

RELATED: Velp Avenue redevelopment plans move forward

RELATED: Walkability, entertainment key to Legends District

Residential building boom

How did 2017 go?

Homebuilders, developers and Realtors reported a strong demand for new homes, new apartments and existing home sales. An apartment in downtown Green Bay didn’t stay vacant for long, Howard is partnering with a management company to build apartments to the west, Ashwaubenon has three apartment complexes under construction and homebuilders say they can’t find enough workers to keep up with demand.

How’s 2018 shaping up?

Bullish, per Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin President Mike Kunesh. He expects home sales and home construction will remain strong in Brown County and beyond.

Chance of significant progress?

Depends. Locally and regionally, the housing market is riding three straight years of strong home sales, rising median prices and the homebuilding industry’s revival. Rising interest rates and tariffs on Canadian lumber could pose challenges to the industry, but will not derail strong demand.

RELATED: Homebuilders finally shake off recession

RELATED: Home sales down in Appleton, Green Bay, rural counties prop up region

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