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Old September 16th, 2008, 04:55 PM   #2101
HermosaBeachBoy
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Green Bay Waterfront Redevelopment

I appreciate and support the efforts of city officials, developers and TAXPAYERS who have been striving to redevelop the Green Bay downtown. Many attempts at improvement have resulted in multiple disappointments, however, there are some achievements. I have to add to other comments regarding the new FOX ON FLATS. I would have thought that having the opportunity to start from the GROUND UP there would have been a little more pleasing design available other than the BIG BOX look. It is my opinion that getting people LIVING downtown is out LAST CHANCE to have a lively downtown instead of a DEAD ZONE! We must continue to adapt to present issues until we find the combination that allows and inspires RESIDENT participation downtown. Sitting idle while downtown looks like a ruined ghost town is not an option. I am interested in buying one of the 27 condos (Green Bay Press Gazette) being proposed for the River Center project, however, unless prices are more closely aligned with the existing Riverside Place Condos (OR LESS) there won't be very many interested parties, including me. Riverfront Lofts and the proposed Astor Place prices are out of line with the Green Bay locale, waterfront or not. Don't forget the BUBBLE BURST!

Last edited by HermosaBeachBoy; September 16th, 2008 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Correct spelling errors.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 06:29 PM   #2102
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I'm in total agreement with that. The people who you want downtown are young singles, young couples, etc. I guess I would have been a natural part of the demographic about four years ago (when we were moving out of the aforementioned rental on Walnut Street), we were able to afford to buy a home on the very Northern edge of Allouez for about $150k. Affordable rentals are fine, but what about affordable condos, priced from about $90k for a decent studio, and up?
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Old September 16th, 2008, 10:12 PM   #2103
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A good sign for RC Condos

HermosaBeachBoy- After your post I was curious as to what the price range of the condos in RC were going to be as well. So I sent Dan Hujet of Realty Executives an email to inquire about the price. The response I got back is below.

"The condos, at this point in time are projected to be in the $175,000-$225,000 range depending on the range of finishes with the interior. They can go upward from there depending on the size of the unit you would like."

A little bit more expensive than I was originally thinking they would have been. I thought they would have been 100k - 150k, but still a good sign to see them cheaper than something in Riverfront Lofts or AP.
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Old September 17th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #2104
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Thanks Hckystr42

Kinda what I figured too, but too lazy to go right to the source to find out I guess! All we can do is wait and see what with all the melting down going on.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 03:33 AM   #2105
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Great Depression II?

Well I don't know about you guys...I think this dire economic situation will get far worse before it gets better again. This means that we just won't see much private investment in new construction for a long time...could be a decade or so.

I wouldn't anticipate our downtown will change much over the next several years. The glitzy skyscrapers simply will not be built.

On the other hand, I think that the city will contract a little bit, some people may be more interested in rehabbing existing buildings and moving back inward.

Also the federal government will likely put people to work rebuilding public infrastructure, just like they did in the 1930s, unless for some reason the federal government sinks so far into debt and dysfunction that they can't even muster those kinds of programs.

On the bright side, perhaps passenger rail will finally get the support it needs to get rebuilt. But that won't be nearly as exciting when everything else is bad...

Maybe I'm overly gloomy.......but the Greater Depression may be on the way. Does not bode well for new development....
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Old September 18th, 2008, 04:43 AM   #2106
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Stock Market

I was thinking about the same thing earlier, but its just too tough to tell right now... It looks more like a bear market, but at the same time its possible to go through a recession first then enter the depression, in which the majority of this nation believes we are (possibly were) in a recession. But who knows, a crash could happen tomorrow. I just wonder though if the economy has grown to big and diverse that anything as bad as the Great Depression could actually happen again.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #2107
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Thoughts

I'm not on board with the doom and gloom perception of things. Decades for skyscrapers seems a bit far off. GB may never see these sky scrapers, but that's not due to the market. There are condos and office buildings going up all over the country so I have a tough time believing that the financial market is 100% responsible.

The way I see it, the market will be primed for a huge boost within the next year, mainly for two reasons. Interest rates are extremely low (2% I think). With the recent financial institutions bringing forth some bad news I would expect these to hold close to steady until it is all resolved. Also, gas futures are down below $100 (although they were up a few bucks in the past couple days). This has a trickle down effect, which will be seen at the pumps within the next 2 months and I expect gas prices to drop below $3.50. Although not ideal prices, this is considerably lower than they were earlier in the year.

How does this relate to Green Bay? Well, Vetter blamed the delays on one factor in the last meeting (Tuesday night I think)... the market!! Guy Zima actually called him out and Vetter became very defensive and said that if the city is behind him he will stick with it, but if he doesn't have the support of the city he will pull out. I'm paraphrasing here, as I heard it on a morning news radio station, but they had the actual conversation that took place. I used to be in support of the Vetter projects, probably because they were glamorous and would bring notoriety to downtown, but this is one point where I am starting to lean towards Zima's perspective. Now, I'm not sure what Zima has in mind if Vetter pulls out, but I think it's past due that we see some more action on his parcels. There are too many other projects linked to and dependent upon the river center, boardwalk, and Site 1 being filled.

Been a bit quiet lately so I thought I would throw out some points to debate
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Old September 18th, 2008, 03:35 PM   #2108
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Childrens Museum

If you go to the website for the children's museum they say it will be opening JAN 2009. It's probably a old photo, but I posted a copy of it from the web site.
I didn't realized it, but it's looking like they are trying to incorporate more of the dark brown metal in other parts of the project.
I know PUANT wouldn't mind the walk, but for others wanting to move into Flats on the Fox, I hope they can get the museum/parking ramp started.
They should just start ripping down a portion of the mall & make a temporary parking lot for Flats on the Fox tenants....
I think we'll be lucky if it even gets stared in 2009, let alone be finished.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 05:09 PM   #2109
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Selected Thoughts:

Qunicy's:

Well, I have no idea if they are doing well or not, so I'm not going to speculate on them in particular but rather comment on restaurants in general. Something like 25% or restaurants fail in the first year, and something like 50 or 60% fail within three years. It's a very competitive business. In a downtown with quite a few restaurants, some are going to fail from time to time, and that isn't necessarily anyone's fault or some black mark on the downtown. It's sad when favorite places like The Stein close, but sadly that's life in a free market.

Fox Lofts

Well, this building isn't going to win any design awards or anything, but I really don't think it's that bad. Now, there are a few things they were looking at doing with the design that didn't make it into the final design, and that's a shame, it could have been better. I also wonder if it would be better with a darker red brick and silver-ish metal, as I think earlier renderings had, but we'll really only know how it will look once the rest of the complex is built. I think right now the biggest thing is that it's hurt by its isolation, and it's not a design that's intended to be viewed from many of the angles from which it is viewed now. At any rate, I think it's overall a positive addition to the downtown and while the design could have been better, I don't think it's bad either.

Broadway

Obviously they've done some good things on Broadway, some interesting shops and places to eat. My big problem is that all the retail closes at 5 or so, so every time I'm down there it's empty. Hopefully if things go well with the Larsen site the area will have more people and shops will have more incentive to stay open until 7 or 8.

Economy

Well, we haven't even officially been in a recession yet (two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, and I don't think there's even been one), so I think talk of a depression is premature. There's too much focus on the Dow Jones average as an indicator of what's happening, but that's just one indicator, and a fairly narrow one. Plus the news media reports selectively and sensationally. Reports headlined "Turmoil on Wall Street" or "Is a Depression Looking" get generate more interest that a headline reading "Market Troubles Contrast With Broader Economy That Is Still Growing."

Certainly the difficulty in getting loans is going to hurt projects. And looking long term there are a number of factors from increasing federal debt, to dependence on a diminishing energy resource (especially relative to demand), to health care costs rising at a rate so much greater than inflation that pose a threat to the economy. However, I just don't think there's enough to indicate that a depression in coming in the short term (next 10 years) and the concerns listed above can be addressed before they are critical.

As it relates to the downtown, I think the credit issues will make a project like Astor Place more difficult, but then again that didn't get started before the housing market deteriorated as it has, so I think there's more at work there than just the market. Really, I think the way the market hurts a large housing project the most is that it's removed speculators who may have purchased a block of units in the hopes of being able to sell them at a profit just after the building is completed. However, with the right project and considering the lack of urban living options in the area, I still think there's a market for the single-unit buyers who are interested in that lifestyle. It just needs to be the right project, and the bulk of the units probably have to be below $300,000 to 400,000, and just a select few above that. But I think it can work with the right project and the right team.

More generally, we need to remember that it took 30 years for the downtown to sink where it did. Projects like the Fox Lofts and the ShopKo Express, compared to any development that was taking place ten years ago (or lack thereof) are nothing to sneeze at. More importantly, we are still seeing entrepreneurs and developers show interest in doing business downtown. All of this in a less than ideal market.

Sometimes the wheels of change turn slowly, and I want a vibrant downtown yesterday as bad as anyone else, but I really think when viewed in a broader context we're still seeing consistent progress, and things moving in a way that if you had told me this would be happening 10 years ago I'd probably have taken this level of progress in a heartbeat.

And yes, my glass is half-full, thank you.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #2110
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Scroll to page 8. Here the Flats is in Red/Silver. A cool pic.

http://www.onbroadway.org/merge/arch...ge_website.pdf

Last edited by Morse; September 18th, 2008 at 10:13 PM. Reason: add more text
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Old September 19th, 2008, 03:06 AM   #2111
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You're right, I think that would have been better. Wow, seeing that made me a little whistful... I was much more bullish on all of this in '07. I wonder what happened to that C4 Arts project, I don't remember hearing about that one.

ECONOMY: I think we're in a recession, I just don't think that the impact has been evenly felt enough for it to be measured by the standard two quarters of negative growth metric. Things don't work like they used to, there used to be a correlation between the growth of the economy and employment, for example, yet we've had two quarters of tepid growth accompanied by the loss of 600,000 jobs since January. I think that there are some who are doing very well in this economy, but the majority are not doing particularly well. Green Bay, however, appears to be weathering it (so far, knock on wood) relatively well. Our housing values were never wildly inflated, and we actually make things here; in other words our economy isn't based on flim flam. I think we may have to adjust our expectations, but I don't think we're going to grind to standstill. Or, at least I hope we patch up the Younkers building before we do...
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Old September 19th, 2008, 04:17 AM   #2112
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I like to be optimistic too but let's face the reality that we're in a recession (even if the technical data doesn't yet show it) and let's face the certainty that the economic turbulence very well could have us on the brink of disaster. Not to bum you out or anything, just keepin' it real.

I do think our little city of Green Bay is more likely to weather the likely depression better than many other cities---we have good agricultural land and can grow food nearby; we have water, including a Great Lakes port (still the most efficient means of transporting bulk goods); we have industrious and mostly hard-working people; the climate isn't too harsh except for a few months during the winter; and of course we have that manufacturing base.

So how's that for a little bit of audacious hope?

I don't believe these strong points will translate into glitzy high-rise skyscrapers, though. However, for a variety of reasons I do believe the downtown could benefit--probably 3-5 story buildings but possibly also more in the form of warehouses and stuff like that.

I'm ready to settle for the idea that a lot of our stuff will be scaled back: Fewer high-end glitzy condos or upscale restaurants, etc. Instead, I'd be happy with less expensive--but still well-designed & well-built, quality--stuff....
....Kind of how they built stuff in the 1930s....

For a variety of reasons, I think Green Bay downtown's zenith was probably reached in the late 1930's (during the Great Depression--not to imply there is a relationship). Thankfully, the economy got better, but the downtown suffered with the new trends of car-dominence and the "great purging of eveything old".

Last edited by Puant; September 19th, 2008 at 05:39 AM. Reason: reworded
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Old September 19th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #2113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nativist View Post
I think we're in a recession, I just don't think that the impact has been evenly felt enough for it to be measured by the standard two quarters of negative growth metric. Things don't work like they used to, there used to be a correlation between the growth of the economy and employment, for example, yet we've had two quarters of tepid growth accompanied by the loss of 600,000 jobs since January. I think that there are some who are doing very well in this economy, but the majority are not doing particularly well...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puant View Post
I like to be optimistic too but let's face the reality that we're in a recession (even if the technical data doesn't yet show it) and let's face the certainty that the economic turbulence very well could have us on the brink of disaster. Not to bum you out or anything, just keepin' it real.
Well, if you folks feel like calling it a recession, go ahead, but by definition, it's not been a recession. Similarly, if it's cold out and raining, you could feel like calling it snow, even if according to the definition of snow, it isn't.

I see what you're saying, and certainly this isn't a great economy and there are some fundamental problems, but the economy hasn't shrunk (which does matter) and as such it's just not a recession. Now, in six months we may look back and say that this was the start of a recession, but we don't know that now. Even the job data, while certainly not great if you've lost a job, isn't all that bad by historical or developed-world standards. I think we're at, what, 6% unemployment right now? The estimated unemployment rate in '05 for the European Union was 9.4%. Now in fairness they have a significantly different economic model, but still...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puant View Post
I don't believe these strong points will translate into glitzy high-rise skyscrapers, though. However, for a variety of reasons I do believe the downtown could benefit--probably 3-5 story buildings but possibly also more in the form of warehouses and stuff like that.

I'm ready to settle for the idea that a lot of our stuff will be scaled back: Fewer high-end glitzy condos or upscale restaurants, etc. Instead, I'd be happy with less expensive--but still well-designed & well-built, quality--stuff....
....Kind of how they built stuff in the 1930s...
Is that how they built in the 30's??? I'm guessing a building like the Northern Building was about the best building they could build. What would a building of equivalent quality, using the materials and techniques of today (if you tried to build an authentic art-deco building today, the cost would be prohibitive), relative to the size of the local economy be? I'm thinking such a building would be a glitzy high-rise.

Look, I'm not in essence disagreeing. There's a place for good quality infill. But I also don't think it's just as simple as saying the if a 17-story building won't work, a 5 story one will. Nor do we want to fill sites just for the sake of filling them. There are really two sites that call out for high rise buildings, and whether that means 10 stories or 20, something on a significant scale should be there, and I think if we have a bit of patience the market will support such buildings. Pretty much everything else should be open for what the market can bear, which is probably going to be smaller, but not necessarily so.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 07:59 PM   #2114
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Well- It has been nice reading all of the comments. If I could just jump in and add a few comments.

My belief is that our local economy is somewhat sheltered from the rest of the US. The credit crisis however was and is affecting everything. When we find out what the FED and Treasury come up with to resolve all the bad loans and gridlock in the capitol system maybe we will start to see growth pickup. We must also remember that even though oil has dropped from its high it is still a finite resource. The trend in many, many areas has been tighter, more compact development. I still don't really see that happening here, to the extent that it is useful. Downtown infill will happen. I know that everyone is anxious to see some things happen with the riverfront, give this credit market some time to work things out. What the city should be concearned with is removeing the damn mall. That should be priorty #1, let individual developers/investors step up and get some 2-5 story builings built in that space. Lets save our cherished river for something of significance.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 09:25 PM   #2115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GBSurveyor View Post
Lets save our cherished river for something of significance.
I don't think they meant to put the 2-5 story infill buildings along the river, but yet focus on those type buildings elsewhere in downtown, and hold off the the riverfront development until the economic and social atmosphere can handle the larger "signature" buildings.

Things like tearing the mall down, replacing parking lots and other blighted buildings with mid rise infill will eventually bring the high rise development along the river. Now with that said, I might be the only one on the board who supports Vetter and his continued effort for financing and acquiring tentants for both river center and astor place. Now if Astor Place fails to get off the ground by the end of 2009, I would hope the city board cuts ties with Vetter on that site and reserves it for a future signature building.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 10:16 PM   #2116
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I don't think they meant to put the 2-5 story infill buildings along the river, but yet focus on those type buildings elsewhere in downtown, and hold off the the riverfront development until the economic and social atmosphere can handle the larger "signature" buildings.

Things like tearing the mall down, replacing parking lots and other blighted buildings with mid rise infill will eventually bring the high rise development along the river. Now with that said, I might be the only one on the board who supports Vetter and his continued effort for financing and acquiring tentants for both river center and astor place. Now if Astor Place fails to get off the ground by the end of 2009, I would hope the city board cuts ties with Vetter on that site and reserves it for a future signature building.
I definitely agree with this. Once a building is up, for all intents, it's permanent. There's no point in rushing to get something up along the river just for the sake of doing it. I'd rather wait, & have something that fits the site, & fits the needs of downtown. There has been so much talk & so little action in the last few years that something like working on the mall site & doing smaller scale stuff just to get some momentum, would do a lot for the image of downtown. Quite frankly, that seems like the smarter road to take anyway. Building a 17 story condo in a market that has NOTHING of the sort seems like a big gamble. Testing the waters, so to speak, seems like the smarter play.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 03:28 AM   #2117
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All right then, we all agree it's time to bulldoze most of the mall to put the street grid back through (especially at Adams St) and enable smaller developers to move in. LET'S DO IT THEN!! Why do we have to wait for this big ass T. Wall plan which seems to be going nowhere? Putting the street grid back through seems like exacty the kind of thing the City should be doing to allow private developers to move in.

I recall Vetter saying years ago that he felt the riverfront development was needed to be the catalyst for the rest of the downtown, to "pull it up by the bootstrap" or somehting like that. Well now we're all kind of wondering if that was the wrong approach---maybe it's the other way around---the other parts of downtown should be primed for development in order to pull up the WATERFRONT by the bootstrap.

For what its worth, I still enjoy going downtonw every day, even if it is lacking. To me it's still got enough to keep me interested & dreaming of what was and what could be.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 06:22 AM   #2118
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sr22er - you're not the only one who supports Vetter, i support him as well...I think its great that we have a Wisconsin architect pursuing downtown instead of someone out of state, secondly Vetter has a very successful history i believe. But ive said this before, Green Bay's higher class demographics are the kind that I THINK mostly prefer land instead of an appartment setting, to store all there toys. Now if Vetter proposed buildings/highrises with condos with a price range lets say - 100,000 to 1,000,000, that might be closer to green bays OVERALL demographics. With that said, maybe Vetter shouldn't propose living space, instead pursue a hotel, office tower, or the trend, a mixed use building like the kind rising in milwaukee (drools). What would be best is an Astor Place that has 13 first floors comprised of retail, floors 4-8 hotel suites, floors 9-17 condos.
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Old September 22nd, 2008, 04:40 AM   #2119
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God forbid they show downtown during the game, but they will show a bridge how many times. I say it is a conspiracy. Let's overplay this tiny tiny town on national tv lol.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 04:14 AM   #2120
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New Mayor?

It seemed like when we got our current mayor there was some progress & momentum. I just wonder if some new blood in the mayors office might shake things up a bit & bring some new ideas & development.
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