The Green Bay Packers have been buying land surrounding Lambeau Field in hopes of developing a sports and entertainment complex and thus, an additional revenue stream, similar to those at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
The team has acquired 28 acres near Lambeau Field in the past five years at a cost greater than $27 million. They’ve paid more than market value ($10 million, total) in many cases.
Some possibilities for the project, which is tentatively being called the Titletown District, are retail, hotels, restaurants, youth sports and health-care facilities, which would be a big improvement from the developments currently surrounding Lambeau.
“We think this area is prime for development,” Vice President for Administration and Legal Counsel Jason Wied said, referring to an approximately 300-acre area from U.S. 41 east to Ashland Avenue, with Lombardi Avenue the northern boundary. “It will help us diversify our investments.”
All of the revenue generated from the project would be kept by the organization, which is key because revenues for the Packers’ other local projects — the Lambeau Field Atrium, Packers Pro Shop and Packers Hall of Fame — have flattened out, according to Wied.
Similarly, the Packers harped on the disproportionate rise in player costs versus overall revenue in their recently-released financial report. Player costs increased 11.8 percent, while revenue increased only 5.5 percent.
One of the goals of the development would be to increase the visitor population to the area, which would increase revenue for the team. It would also help the local economy, create jobs and increase tax revenue.
Development could reportedly begin within the next year, but of course the local municipalities and Brown County will have something to say about that.
“Within five years, I think we’ll see a lot of activity in the area,” said Ashwaubenon President Mike Aubinger, who said a priority of the village is to maintain the residential neighborhoods near Lambeau Field.
“There’s support for economic development out there, and we don’t want to see just parking lots,” Green Bay mayor Jim Schmitt said. “There’s a huge market for youth sports, and that area would be natural for national-type retailers. We’re excited about development out there. But we don’t know about the financing.”
Financing seems to be the last major obstacle for the development. The source may be undecided, but it seems to be a case of when rather than if.
Hopefully, when the development is complete, it helps turn Green Bay into a more palatable place to be.
In the video below, Wied talks about the expansion plans.