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Hi-

One of the Green Bay suburbs is planning to turn an 500-acre farm field into a new 'downtown'...I guess this is good, except our real urban cores (particularly downtown Green Bay) has struggled for years. I guess this is OK considering the development alternative would be more damn strip mall/big box type developments...This could be interesting, I like many of the aspects of it...The only thing that bothers me is that this could potentially harm the real downtowns in the area..And, it's hard to re-create "real" spaces so quickly like this...Could turn out to be pretty fake?

What do you think? Here's the article from the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

Bellevue thinking big with planned complex

Businesses, homes, trails pegged for 500-acre area

By Lee Reinsch
[email protected] [email protected]

BELLEVUE — Village officials are considering a plan for a commercial and residential complex comparable in scale to the Fox River Mall area in Grand Chute, but with the feel of an old-fashioned downtown main street.

The location would be the roughly rectangular 500-acre area between Allouez Avenue and Wisconsin 172 on the north and south and Lime Kiln Road and Bellevue Street on the east and west.

The property is being studied by village planners, developers and the dozen or so property owners who have a strong interest in the long-term plan.

"Do we have some concerns? Do we have questions? Yes. But, hopefully, those can be resolved. There's more than one plan that could meet the goals that the village is looking at," said Barbara Lautenslager, a spokeswoman for the Alton and Agnes Van Rite family.

With more than 300 acres of farmland, the Van Rites are the largest property owners within the commercial zone.

The development plan is being called informally the Bellevue business/commercial park, and it's almost soon to be part of the village's 20-year comprehensive plan.

Officials envision an area that would integrate big box retail stores with large office buildings and residences with green space, park benches, bike stalls, parking ramps and interconnecting pedestrian walkways, including a link to the East River Trail.

It would take into account some of relatively new development in the area — such as the Target/Copps Food Center complex — while creating a blueprint for several hundred acres of undeveloped farmland. And it would be created around state-mandated Smart Growth principles.

Former village president Bob Schlag, who owns 120 acres within the proposed commercial zone, says that when the retail complex near Allouez Avenue and Brown County GV was being developed a few years ago, some of the most desirable property fetched about $200,000 per acre.

"So far I've just listened to what's being said, but I haven't taken a position," Schlag said. "When they come and put something on the table, that's when I'll have something to say."

Village Administrator Randy Friday said the Van Rites have turned down several offers to purchase their land.

Lautenslager said her family is looking into the possibilities.

The village hired Madison-based Vierbicher Associates, an engineering and planning firm, for $65,000 to develop a comprehensive plan for the commercial parcel, Friday said.

"We are looking at a place to live, work and play," Vierbicher official Gary Becker said. "An important part of the plan would be restaurants, night clubs and movie theaters. We're talking about a total environment with high design standards."

While the plan would be specific to this commercial zone, it would dovetail into the 20-year comprehensive plan that will be developed for the village, Friday said.

The plan commission has seen a preliminary draft of the proposal. Commission members plan a trip June 5 to Middleton, where Vierbicher has worked with large-scale developer T. Wall Properties, the third-largest commercial developer in the state, to create a development that is serving as the model for this one, Friday said.

"This will be a gateway to the village of Bellevue," Becker said. "It will be unique to the Green Bay area, mixing retail and commercial and residential. Rather than a development strip along (Brown County) GV, we're talking about a Main Street concept that will be pedestrian friendly."

The nearest thing like it, besides Middleton, is in the Twin Cities, Friday said.

Rather than stand-alone big box retail stores surrounded by acres of parking, the plan calls for stores and offices linked to parking ramps. A number of storefronts would overlook a pedestrian-friendly green space, Becker said.

"Anything to get pedestrians walking would be wonderful," said Julie Phillips, owner of Jitter Bean Coffee and Ice Cream Café, 2670 Monroe Road/Brown County GV. She said her business has increased since a Kwik Trip opened up next door.

"Any time you get people to see (your business), that is a bonus; that is awesome," Phillips said.

The proposal also calls for multifamily and single-family residential properties on the east and west edges of the development area, Friday said.

With Vierbicher's development in Middleton, the result is "a very livable space," Friday said.

"There are buildings that are multiple stories, with the first being retail — sales or shopping — and the floors above being either office or residential living space. People who work in the offices during the daytime will be visiting and shopping and eating at these retail shops and restaurants during the day."

To make the area accessible to the entire village and surrounding areas, the plan would feature connections to area pedestrian trails.

Becker said the center is planned to have a long life.

"Sometimes when you have a big box surrounded by a big parking lot, after 20 years it becomes outdated, the retail store closes and the big boxes sit empty," Becker said. "Eventually when there is reuse, it is inevitably at a lower standard."

Craig Jones, out-of-print specialist with Reader's Loft, 2069 Central Court, Suite 44, one of the area's few independent book stores, said he thinks the development would be great for business at the book store.

"I can't think of how it would be a bad thing out here. The more people traffic, the better off everyone is," Jones said.
 

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The idea of lifestyle centers as opposed to traditional enclosed malls seems to be the new thing in suburban development. Isn't this along the lines of what Ashwaubenon wants to do between the Resch Center and Baypark? What I found interesting in the article was Bellevue is looking to Middleton, a Madison suburb, as a possible template for what they want to do. From what I've read on Middleton it is a primarily residential development on small lots with street grids and alleys. The homes have to be of a traditional architectural style that is flattering to the landscape. Middleton’s retail core is discouraging big box stores which is something the Bellevue plan seems to want to integrate into their plan. Bellevue does seem ideally located in the Green Bay area for a more up market retail scene than what currently exists. With Bellevue being on the east side near the more affluent suburbs of Allouez, De Pere, and Ledgeview this would seem especially so.
 

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check out Brea Californias web site... they made a fake downtown out of orange groves.... not bad...
 
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