Titletown District to have 10-acre plaza
ASHWAUBENON – A 10-acre public plaza will be the heart of the Green Bay Packers’ new Titletown District, an effort by the team to add to the quality of life in Brown County.
The Packers announced plans for the 34-acre development this morning at Lambeau Field, introducing its three anchors, Lodge Kohler, Hinterland brewery and Bellin Health. Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said one of the team’s goals is to help stem the loss of young professionals from the area.
“What you’re seeing there (in Titletown District) is what Millennials especially are looking for,” said Peter Zaehringer, vice president of economic development for the Greater Green Bay Chamber. “It’s a place that is walkable. It’s a place where you can live, where you can shop, where you can hang out with your family, your animal, your kids. That’s what we’re looking for when it comes to talent retention and attraction to the Green Bay area.”
The Titletown District will include 10 acres of plaza, including an ice skating pond in winter, an event area and a football field-sized green space. The Lombardi Avenue side of the Titletown District will include 200,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment businesses in multiple buildings. Brookwood Drive will include 30 to 50 two-story townhouses fronting their neighbors and with patios facing the 10-acre park, which runs through the middle of the development.
The public space will include, nearest South Ridge Road on the east, a grassy area designed for events and festivals. In the center of the park will be an area that in winter will be a full-sized skating rink landscaped to look like a pond. It will include sculpted rocks, reminiscent of Wisconsin Dells formations, that people can skate between and around. At the western end of the development will be a football field-sized grass space with football markings, though it will be a park and not an athletic field.
Work could start this year with anticipated openings by the anchors before the start of the 2017 football season.
Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said the Titletown District will have its own identity, distinct from the Packers and Lambeau Field. That’s one reason they decided not to build on Lambeau property.
“We also didn’t want to impact tailgaiting at Lambeau. We know that is important to our fans,” he said.
Lambeau Field and Brown County have seen growth from destination travelers and Murphy said the Titletown District would add to that. He said the team experienced record numbers of visitors in June and July.
That benefits the entire region, said Ashwaubenon village president Mike Aubinger.
“The Green Bay Packers have formed a community. That community spills over to include all of our visitors,” Aubinger said.
The Packers goal is to have the plaza in use much of the year and will be forming focus groups for public input on the kinds of events and activities people would like to see.
The Packers own more than 65 acres east, west and south of Lambeau Field, including the proposed development area along Lombardi Avenue between South Ridge Road and Marlee Lane. All of their land is in the village of Ashwaubenon.
Initial development along South Ridge Road will cost $120 million to $130 million. That includes the $28.6 million the Packers paid for the land in the development area, plus demolition costs for buildings there and infrastructure improvements. Total team investment will be about $65 million, said Ed Policy, vice president and general counsel.
The Packers hand-picked the three tenants. Each is a premium Wisconsin name, Policy said.
“It was important to us that they commit to use Titletown as a major growth platform,” he said.
The four-star Lodge Kohler will have 150 rooms on five floors, an indoor/outdoor pool and gardens, a spa and a fitness center. It will have limited event and meeting space, instead using Lambeau Field for those services.
“This is the first (hotel) we’ve built from scratch outside of Kohler,” said Herbert Kohler Jr., chairman of Kohler Co. “It’s going to be a product we think we might be able to take elsewhere. It’s an excellent place to start.”
The Packers see use of Lambeau Field, already a year-round attraction for business meetings, parties and weddings, as a source of revenue growth. The team is adding two high-end board rooms with a view of the 50-foot Lombardi Trophy replica to enhance its meeting offerings.
Both the Packers and Kohler look to grow their executive retreat business.
“Our thought is Lambeau Field has the most unique and inspiring meeting space in the nation,” Policy said.
Hinterland Brewery plans a 20,000- to 25,000-square-foot brewery, tap room and restaurant, compared to the 9,000 square feet in its downtown Green Bay building. It will move all its operations to the Titletown District, but owner Bill Tressler said Copper Rock Coffee of Appleton will buy Hinterland’s downtown building.
The brewery produced about 5,500 barrels of beer last year, but Hinterland will increase capacity to 20,000 at the new location. It will offer brewery tours and have two dining rooms, one with the tap room and a more intimate one on the second floor, and start lunch service. It will offer craft beer and merchandise sales, as well.
“I think the partners are great partners for sure,” Tressler said. “Each one will bring something different to the experience over there and I think there is some overlap in target customers.”
Bellin Health’s sports medicine clinic will be more convenient for Dr. Patrick McKenzie, the Packers’ medical director, and the players he treats, but it also will be available to the public.
“One goal is to have a facility that’s more convenient for him and the players,” said George Kerwin, president and CEO of Bellin Health. “We also want to offer the community a broader array of services offered to athletes.”
The approximately 30,000-square-foot clinic will offer diagnostics, labs and MRI services as well as medical care and physical therapy.
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