Public Market coming to Broadway
By Josh Staloch
Green Bay – The Broadway District in downtown Green Bay is about to get a big upgrade.
The nonprofit, On Broadway, Inc., announced on Wednesday, Jan. 26 that a $30-million project is in the works to construct a public market in the Old Fort Square building between Dousman and Hubbard Streets.
The project, which is more than five years in the making, will bring 20 new businesses to Broadway by offering below-market rents to its tenants, and thereby giving more shopping options to the 400,000+ visitors the district sees each year.
“This is an exciting day for downtown Green Bay, for Greater Green Bay, for this entire region.” Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich said. “A lot of folks who are familiar with public markets who have done a little traveling, have a sense for what sort of amenities you might find. But what makes them really interesting is that you’ll always find local elements, local proprietors and local businesses that are indicative of the community you’re visiting. Green Bay is all about creating interesting places and spaces. A public market is absolutely something that will be attractive, not just to residents here in this community, but to people all around the country.”
A food market first
On Broadway, Inc. Executive Director and District 9 Alderperson Brian Johnson noted during Wednesday’s presentation that the heart of the Broadway District resides in what is known as a “food desert,” or an area where residents have limited access to a variety of healthy foods.
Johnson said the public market plans to change that with the food vendors who set up shop there.
“Neighbor inclusivity is really, critically important to us,” he said. “Unlike a lot of other public markets that are located in commercial corridors and don’t have a lot of residential density next to them, we are immediately adjacent to one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in our city. We think there’s a real opportunity to fill that gap.”
Voyageurs Bakehouse, currently operating right up the road from the Old Fort Square building, said it plans to launch a new brand in a space at the public market.
West Coast Seafood and Chowder, a restaurant chain operating out of Seattle and Portland, but which has roots in the midwest, said it is looking forward to bringing its brand of seafood to the area.
Great for Broadway District
Jyll and Tommy Everman, co-owners of Gather on Broadway, just a block away from the public market site, said they are excited about what a public market on Broadway will mean for their business.
“Once we heard there was a rumor that something like this could happen, I feel like we jumped,” Jyll said. “This is so exciting.”
Tommy shares in his wife’s excitement.
“Green Bay is a really cool town,” he said. “The opportunity to be a part of one of the projects that changes not only the downtown area, but the city, I jump at that chance.”
While the total price tag for the project comes in at an estimated $30 million, only $10-12 million of that has been designated for the reconstruction of the 40-year old Old Fort Square building.
Also included in the development plans will be a 90-unit apartment building featuring high-quality, affordable housing in a structure behind the market.
Johnson said the parking situation for the project is currently being planned and capital campaigns, including looking into using American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project, are underway and tenant recruitment has begun.
On Broadway, Inc. board member Garritt Bader said, ideally, the city would like to start renovations this fall.