GREEN BAY - Jobs and dollars are expected to add up as the Packers add on to Lambeau Field.
Newly announced plans to renovate the atrium include the creation of 1,500 jobs and $60 million in wages, according to the Packers organization.
Team president and CEO Mark Murphy unveiled the plans Tuesday. They include building a new ground level of the atrium. The Pro Shop will be part of that level, underneath the current Atrium floor. Curly's Pub will move down to where the Pro Shop is now, and the Hall of Fame will move from the basement up to the second floor. Plans also call for a new east-side entrance and expansion of the Oneida Nation Gate.
The economic impact of the project is still unknown, but tourism officials say it will definitely help spike dollars coming into the area. And the new jobs are coming at a time when workforce development officials say they will be needed.
The Packers organization is excited about stadium renovation plans. A key part is the expansion of the Oneida Nation Gate, making it more prominent.
"There will be a plaza on top, and we think there is a great opportunity to have, whether it be speakers, or concerts or smaller events there throughout the year," said Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy.
Tourism officials expect the gate expansion to be a big draw, in addition to the atrium reconfiguration, which is intended to make attractions more visible.
"Sometimes the power of suggestion is just seeing something that catches your eye. You may decide to do it rather than just having the name of it on the side of a wall," said Brad Toll with the Visitor and Convention Bureau.
As far as the additional tourism the project will draw and the economic impact, Toll didn't have specific numbers, but said he definitely expects to see a boost.
"You need to continue to invest in your tourism product, update it, and change it around to keep it fresh. And I think there's a lot of that going on at Lambeau Field which will continue to draw people in," Toll said.
The renovation also means jobs. Murphy said Wisconsin companies will do 93 percent of the work. That includes 69 percent in Northeast Wisconsin, with 40 percent in Brown County.
"I think 1,500 jobs. And in terms of spending impact between the two phases, it would be 80 million spent in Brown County," Murphy said.
"We're excited about the construction industry in Northeast Wisconsin and the workforce has been expanding. Now it's a question of keeping them busy," said Jim Golembeski with the Bay Area Workforce Development Board.
Work at Lambeau is scheduled to begin this March, and Golembeski said those jobs come at the right time. The project will employ workers for two years and pay more than $60 million in wages.
"We've had some major projects going on like Schreiber, like the Veterans Hospital, like the 41 Project, and now these new plans at Lambeau are very encouraging because that workforce will be able to stay absorbed now as we look out into the future," Golembeski said.
The work is scheduled to be completed in June of 2015. No taxpayer dollars will be used for the $140 million project. Funding will come from the Packers through private financing and a loan from the NFL.
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