Packers complete Titletown land purchase

Richard Ryman
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ASHWAUBENON – The Green Bay Packers have acquired the final acreage they need to begin construction of the Titletown District west of Lambeau Field.

The Packers bought 4.78 acres from the state Department of Transportation for $1.5 million. The land includes Lombardi Access Road and the land between it and Lombardi Avenue.

"This frees us up to push the buildings back," said Ed Policy, vice president and general counsel for the Packers. "It enables us to build that public plaza."

Titletown District is about 35 acres the Packers own immediately west of Lambeau Field, all in the village. Announced anchors include Lodge Kohler, a four-star hotel and spa, which has a groundbreaking scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today; Hinterland Brewery and a Bellin Health sports medicine clinic. Initial investment in the project, including land acquisition and infrastructure improvements by the Packers, is estimated at $120 million to $130 million.

The district is bordered by Lombardi Avenue, South Ridge Road, Marlee Lane and Brookwood Drive. In the middle of the district will be 10 acres of public space that includes a football field-sized green space, a large skating pond and more. It also will have 180,000 square feet of additional commercial space on the north side of the district, along Lombardi Avenue and Marlee Lane, and as many as 70 townhouses along Brookwood Lane.

The plan calls for the anchors to open by the beginning of the 2017 NFL season.

An appraisal for the state valued the land at $5.2 million. The Packers appraisal matched the selling price of $1.5 million.

"That's not unusual," said Will Dorsey, Northeast Region director for the Department of Transportation of the difference in perceived value. "We use that as a starting point for negotiations. Typically, if it is a marketable parcel, we put it out for bids."

He said factors in setting the price included the Packers being the only property owner abutting the land, the money going directly into the state transportation fund and the land going back on the property tax roll, as well as the economic development aspect.

"We only paid $47,000 for the land and got 50 years of use out of it," he said.

Lombardi Avenue at one time was also State 32. When the highway was rerouted, the state retained ownership of the access road, Dorsey said.

"This is probably one of the more high profile (sales) ... but we have little strips of land (all over the state) associated with previous highway projects that by statute we are required to sell off because they are designated as excess property," he said.

The deal closed on March 10.

Contact and follow him on Twitter @RichRymanPG, onInstagram at rrymanpgor on Facebook at Richard Ryman-Press-Gazette. Or call him at (920) 431-8342.

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