GREEN BAY, Wisconsin, July, 30, 2014 -- The Green Bay City Council recently voted against Walmart’s request to rezone the Larsen Green property, which would have allowed us to better serve our downtown customers and bring economic vitality to an area that has been dormant and in need of redevelopment for nearly two decades. We presented the right proposal to address consumers’ needs and, regrettably, the Council turned it down. Although we remain committed to serving our customers and all those who wanted and needed this downtown store, we will no longer pursue plans for this site.
The fact remains that downtown Green Bay residents want more options for affordable groceries and general merchandise closer to home. We want to thank all of those throughout the community who supported our proposed redevelopment plan, including community leaders, local businesses, the construction trades and the more than 3,500 local residents who signed our petition of support and attended the public meetings to speak in favor of the good jobs and economic growth Walmart would bring to downtown.
For more than a year, we have worked closely, in an open and transparent manner, with community stakeholders to develop a plan for Larsen Green that would suit the needs of our customers and business in a way that reflects the City’s overall vision for downtown development.
Despite the significant revisions we made to ensure our proposal fit the character of the Broadway district – based on extensive feedback from the community – some City officials created road blocks at every turn. The level of political and administrative resistance we faced within the City government should be chilling to any business looking to move into or expand in Green Bay.
The reality is that our proposal represented the first plausible and concrete development plan for the Larsen Green brownfield to be put forward in the past 20 years. Our proposed store would have brought 300 jobs downtown, created construction jobs, drawn additional shoppers to local area businesses, boosted tax revenue and provided residents with a much-needed new option for fresh, affordable groceries and other goods.
Our proposal further called for investing nearly $2 million in remediation at the site that must be completed before any development can begin. And we would have done all of this without requiring any government subsidies, meaning that the site would not require the use of dollars generated by hardworking taxpayers and would immediately begin generating revenue.
Instead, the mayor and certain aldermen decided to pass on these benefits for the Green Bay community and, without a concrete plan, gamble on the continued speculation of what might someday come down the road. Our hope is that the city’s leaders and administrators will be able to bring something that will meet the needs of the community. In the meantime, it’s the residents of downtown Green Bay who are missing out and left wondering what is next.
Walmart has been a proud member of the Green Bay community for the past 20 years, providing affordable and convenient shopping options to residents, employing nearly 700 people at two locations and supporting charitable efforts that help the community. We remain committed to serving our customers throughout the Green Bay area and will continue to look for opportunities to serve them better.
-- Mitch Cox, Walmart Regional General Manager