Youth mentoring organization first to occupy space in Rail Yard Innovation District
GREEN BAY, Wis. (Feb. 8, 2019) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin (BBBSNEW) is moving to offices in a newly renovated warehouse building at 520 N. Broadway St. in April.
The organization is leasing about 3,200 square feet of space from DDL Holdings, LLC in a building that’s part of the Rail Yard Innovation District, a development being led by Base Cos., LLC. BBBSNEW will be the first occupant to begin operations in the 60,000 square foot, three-story mixed use office and retail building, featuring underground parking and 5G capable fiber optics.
The new location offers more space, particularly for volunteer recruitment meetings, and more flexibility to grow. The agency served a record 603 children in 2018.
“This move will allow us to continue our strong commitment to serving children,” said Katie Hess, executive director. “The need in Brown, Door and Shawano counties for young people to have a role model is more urgent than ever. We need to be more visible and accessible to meet that need.”
BBBSNEW, serving children in the Greater Green Bay area since 1972, has operated from the Heritage Building at 1345 W. Mason St. for more than three decades.
The new location will house 11 team members and accommodate the anticipated growth of six employees in the next 10 years. The space, designed by Performa Inc. of De Pere, features a layout that is open, yet adaptable to foster communication between team members and better serve families and volunteers whether in small or large gatherings.
“We need a space that is flexible and adapts to the need of the essential work of matching youth with mentors to attract more volunteers of all generations,” said Hess.
The Rail Yard Innovation District is a 22-acre development that began in 2014 with the renovation of four former canning factories and warehouses. The project continues this spring with BBBSNEW and other occupants moving into a newly renovated warehouse at 520 N. Broadway St. and work beginning on $3 million of infrastructure improvements, including roads, fiber optic extensions and a stormwater retention pond, said Paul Belschner, president and CEO of Base Cos.
“For the past 4o years, we’ve watched the Broadway District evolve from an area of our city that wasn’t really inviting for anyone, but especially for families, to now being known for its unique shops and as a hub of technology and innovation,” Belschner said.
“(Bringing in organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters) is the right thing to do not only because it allows for all types of businesses to participate in urban redevelopment in Green Bay, but it’s bringing in their clientele— all the people who we would want visiting the Rail Yard Innovation District and being a part of the change.”
The development features forward-thinking design to serve numerous mixed use retail and office buildings, condominiums and apartments adjacent to recreation trails, green space and the Fox River.
“Our mentoring programs are a vital part of the community and we felt that it was important for BBBSNEW to be part of the revitalization and growth of the Broadway District,” said Brad Nycz, president of the Board of Directors. “With a significant rise in operating expenses, the move to our new space is critical right now to set the organization up for long term sustainability.”
Brian Johnson, executive director of On Broadway, Inc., said the Rail Yard Innovation District helps promote the Broadway District as one of the fastest growing areas of the community.
“The relocation of BBBSNEW (to Broadway) will provide access to amenities that can be enjoyed by the staff and the clients they serve,” Johnson said. “From restaurants to retail, community events to public art, there are countless attractions that ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who visits or lives in the Broadway District.”
BBBSNEW has reached about 90 percent of its $293,000 goal in its fundraising campaign, Hess said.
Hess credits generous donors for making the new location possible, including Base Cos., KI, Green Bay Packaging, Cornerstone Foundation, KC Stock Foundation, Performa, Nicolet National Bank, Festival Foods, Green Bay Packers, Nick Family Foundation and ARMS.
“The donors have provided long-time support for Big Brothers Big Sisters and have strong ties to the work that we are doing,” Hess said. “They support our programs to ensure the dollars they donate are helping the community.”
Since 1972, BBBSNEW has provided one-to-one mentoring relationships for more than 12,000 children in the Greater Green Bay area. The agency will announce dates for public tours in early summer.