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Green Bay's RDA allows talks with Walmart over downtown store to continue

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Proposed downtown Green Bay Walmart
Proposed downtown Green Bay Walmart

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Green Bay's Redevelopment Authority has voted down a resolution terminating the purchase agreement between Walmart and On Broadway, Inc.

In a 4-3 decision, the committee allowed talks between the retailer and On Broadway to go beyond its 150-day window.

"We're pleased with the RDA's vote to continue the process, and allow Walmart to continue discussions about the potential redevelopment of the Larsen Green property," says Delia Garcia, Walmart's Director of Communications. "We take this back to our team, and we don't have a concrete timeline but, obviously our goal is to serve our customers downtown and open a store as soon as possible."

Walmart is looking to build a 150,000 square foot store in the Broadway District. But with nearly a dozen people speaking at the tightly-packed committee meeting in favor of terminating the agreement, many were unhappy with the result.

"You are getting 16 acres of historic downtown riverfront property, and you can't even respect the process and adhere to the guidelines of a purchase agreement, what else are they going to do," said Rhonda Sitnaku.

Another person unhappy with the decision is Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.

"That's fine, they're entitled to that, I obviously don't agree with that, but we'll proceed," says Schmitt. "Eventually it's going to find its way to the Planning Commission and the City Council, because they're asking us to re-zone a piece of property that's not slated for big box. And that's where the city will come in and weigh pretty heavy."

This action was taken because the Larsen Green Governing Board was split on whether to extend a purchase agreement on the property with Walmart. If the RDA would've voted to approve terminating the purchase agreement, Walmart officials said they would have walked away from the downtown store plan.

SCHMITT STICKS WITH LARSEN GREEN BOARD

Also Tuesday, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt said he will permanently replace Alderman Brian Danzinger on the Larsen Green Governing Board.

Schmitt cast a "no" vote last week during the group's 3-3 tie, which led to Tuesday's RDA action. 

Asked why, Schmitt replied, "just to make sure the city's perspective is being heard."

Schmitt indicated that when Danzinger returns from military deployment, he will be moved into retiring Community Development Director Rob Strong's spot on the Larsen Green board. He added it's all to ensure the city's vision for the 15 acres of property the board is in charge of gets reinforced.

"They say things that, I'm just not 100 percent sure of them," says Schmitt. "They say well we've done this and we've done that...and you look into and, really have you?"

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