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Titletown will be game-changer for Packers and Green Bay

Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO Mark Murphy

  • On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at: **.*

On Aug. 20, we announced plans to create the Titletown District on 34 acres of land west of Lambeau Field. We've been working on the plans for almost seven years, so it was exciting to finally be able to unveil them. Titletown will help the Packers in several ways. First it will make Green Bay (and Lambeau Field) even more of a destination, which will help our Pro Shop, Hall of Fames and Tours, and 1919 Kitchen and Tap. We should also see an increase in meetings and other events held at Lambeau Field. It will also generate non-football revenues (through lease arrangements with our tenants) that will not have to be shared, according to league policies. Most importantly, it will help the Green Bay community by attracting visitors to the area and encouraging people and businesses to relocate here. In the long run, in order for the Packers to remain competitive and stay in Green Bay, it is imperative the Green Bay economy remains vibrant, and Titletown should be a boon to the local economy.

In order for a development like Titletown to be successful, it is important to have anchor tenants that help draw visitors to the district. The first tenant was Cabela's in 2013. Cabela's has been a great addition and had 2.8 million visitors last year. We're very excited about the three initial tenants that were introduced last month. Lodge Kohler will be the first four-diamond hotel in the area. With Kohler's great reputation for hospitality and service, along with its signature Spa, it should draw people to the area year round. We anticipate it serving as the hotel for executive retreats held in our facilities at Lambeau Field. Hinterland is generally regarded as the finest restaurant in the Green Bay area, and has a great following in the region, with other successful restaurants in Milwaukee and Door County. The new larger location will allow the business to serve lunches and grow. Bellin Health's Sports Medicine Clinic will be one of the finest in the country, and the connection with Packers team physician Pat McKenzie should allow it to draw patients from all over the country.

A unique aspect of Titletown will be the 10-acre public plaza, which will cover approximately a third of the Titletown development. We're working with Biederman Redevelopment Ventures on both the design and programming for the plaza. They've designed parks across the country, including the highly successful Canalside Park in Buffalo. The public plaza should serve as a gathering place for people in the community, as well as helping to attract visitors to the area.

Titletown will also have a residential component, with approximately 40 townhouses that will be connected to and have direct access to the public plaza. We will also have approximately 180,000 square feet of space available for retail, dining and family-oriented entertainment. Our hope is with Titletown we will be able to draw businesses to the area that typically wouldn't come to a market the size of Green Bay.

It will be exciting to see the progress on Titletown over the next few years. We anticipate the three initial tenants and public plaza will open by the summer of 2017, with further development following shortly after that. We're optimistic Titletown will be transformational for the Green Bay community.

Now, on to your questions:

Steve from Beloit, WI

Thank you for another great shareholders meeting! You made one comment, however, that took the wind out of my sails. I thought with the successful New York/New Jersey outdoor Super Bowl and all the improvements coming to the Titletown District west of Lambeau Field, there might be plans for hotels and restaurants that would allow Green Bay to host a Super Bowl. Your comment (when correcting yourself about the Super Bowl trophy coming to GB) was along the lines of, "I wish the Super Bowl would come to GB but that's not going to happen." Are there really no plans to ever bid to host a Super Bowl with all the improvements you've made?

Thanks, Steve. I'm very excited about the impact of Titletown, but I don't think it will allow us to host a Super Bowl. The Green Bay area comes up short on a number of requirements for Super Bowl host cities. The key deficiencies are hotel rooms (the requirement is 28,000 hotel rooms within an hour radius and we have 7,000), space for press conferences and two indoor practice facilities (we only have one). Also, the typical weather in Green Bay in early February will not help. So, we will try to host the NFC Championship game every year.

A question from Bill

Hello, Mark. What I enjoy about visiting sites like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Lambeau Field is the feeling of stepping back in time and soaking in the historical aura of the setting. There are fewer and fewer places that provide that mystique in sports. I do understand and even agree with the whole Titletown District project and being creative with generating new sources of revenue to keep up with the Joneses. But are there any measures being taken to not lose the aura and mystique that makes the Lambeau Field neighborhood feeling special and just not another commercialized looking area?

Great question! This is an issue of which we are very concerned. I agree Lambeau Field has a classic look. We have worked with our architects, Rossetti & Associates, to ensure all of the buildings in Titletown have a look that is consistent with Lambeau Field. I hope you'll agree the renderings have reflected this look. Also, the fact Titletown will have a public plaza and townhouses should give it a neighborhood feel.

John from Racine, WI

What do you think about Judge Berman ruling against the NFL in Deflategate?

Thanks, John. I was surprised and disappointed by the decision. Although the league did not handle this case perfectly, I didn't expect the judge to insert himself into this dispute. Courts are normally very reluctant to overturn decisions rendered through collectively bargained procedures, as was the case here. The thought is it's better for the parties to resolve their own disputes, rather than have courts deciding private disputes. Of particular concern here is the fact this dispute centers on the integrity of the game. For decades, in numerous collective bargaining agreements, the Commissioner has been responsible for issues involving the integrity of the game. This has served the NFL well over the years. I'm hopeful the decision will be reversed on appeal.

Steve from Clintonville, WI

Just wondering when the new HOF will be open. My son, who lives in Seahawks territory just south of Seattle, but as an owner bleeds Green and Gold, will be visiting with his family in early August. Hoping to bring them to Lambeau to see it all!

I'm sorry your son missed the grand opening of the new Hall of Fame, Steve. We had a great opening on Aug. 21. The new Hall of Fame is truly spectacular. It is much more interactive than the old Hall, and has numerous excellent exhibits. With its location on the Atrium's main floor, the new Hall of Fame is easily accessible and, along with the 1919 Kitchen and Tap, has greatly increased activity in the Atrium. Steve, I would encourage you, your son and his family, and all our fans to visit the new Hall of Fame. You will not be disappointed.

A question from Ken

For the last 30 years, The Pack plays at Miami and has to wear green. This is unfair and unhealthy. I remember Korey Stringer's death from heatstroke. Every team in the NFL should have warm-weather and cold-weather gear. Please try to change the greedy owners into thinking this way.

You raise an interesting issue, Ken. For years, the NFL's policy has been the home team gets to choose the color jersey it wears. Most teams wear dark jerseys at home, but the Dolphins and Cowboys are among those that wear light jerseys at home. Years ago, I would agree it was an advantage for the Dolphins. Today, though, with jerseys that breathe well, cooling fans and other equipment on the sidelines, as well as the hydration policies, there is little to no advantage. We played in Miami last fall on a warm day, and I think our team handled the heat well. Also, the dark jerseys have been an advantage for us over the years late in the season.

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