WaterMark | Green Bay, WI

Oftentimes, it takes an outsider to see an opportunity that goes unnoticed by the rest of us every day. This was the case with the Watermark in downtown Green Bay. Vetter Denk Architects and River Vision Partnership II began presentations to the city of Green Bay in 2008 about the potential for a new waterfront redevelopment project in a blighted site of the downtown that formerly was home to H.C. Prange Department Store and later Younkers.

The project wasn’t immediately accepted by the community and required several bouts of education and persuasion. To make it more challenging, the recession hit near the start of construction making it nearly impossible to obtain capital. In spite of this, River Vision Partnership II, working with Calumet County Bank, the lead lender, and Ganther, was able to get the project financed through a consortium of small banks, private investors, a loan from the city of Green Bay, and participation through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) using New Markets Tax Credits.

Construction of the $11 million project started in 2011. The repurposed core and shell of the former 6-story, 75,000 square-foot department store building; and new construction of the Children’s Museum of Green Bay, Hagermeister Park, a Packer’s themed eatery and pub; and a new 166 stall parking structure were completed in August of 2012. The existing 6-story building is currently being leased as class “A” office space with breathtaking views of the waterfront, the City Deck and downtown Green Bay. With its unobstructed views, one can even see Lambeau Field to the south and the Bay of Green Bay to the north.

“The mix of perseverance and an outsider’s vision for the Watermark was essential to prove the site’s modern potential to residents who had seen other plans come and go, or just dwindle over time.” – Kelly Denk and John Vetter, Developer and Architect, the Watermark


The Watermark was selected as a Top Project of 2012 by publishers of the Daily Reporter, a WI business publication. Read the story.


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