Developer cancels $200 million warehouse in Lawrence, suspected to be for Amazon, months after town approval

·3 min read
A rendering of a distribution center proposed for a 150-acre site at Freedom Road and Interstate 41 in the town of Lawrence.
A rendering of a distribution center proposed for a 150-acre site at Freedom Road and Interstate 41 in the town of Lawrence.

LAWRENCE – Plans to build a massive, $200 million warehouse southwest of Green Bay have been canceled by the developers with little explanation, a town administrator says.

Residents who had suspected the mystery tenant was Amazon now might never find out if that was the case.

Patrick Wetzel, the administrator for the town of Lawrence, said Tuesday in an email to the Green Bay Press-Gazette that the project's developer, Trammel Crow Co., notified the town it does not plan to proceed with the mega warehouse "due to changed market conditions."

Trammel Crow and its subsidiary, TC Pursuit Services Inc., had requested an amendment to its development plan that Lawrence officials were set to consider during an April 13 Planning and Zoning Board meeting. But the agenda was revised before the meeting with a note that the developer requested the item be removed.

Last week, Trammel Crow declined to comment on a Press-Gazette request for updates on the warehouse plans, nicknamed Project Badger.

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A national development firm wants to build a 635,000-square-foot distribution center on 150 acres of land in the town of Lawrence. The property is seen here from the intersection of Williams Grant Drive and Noah Road, looking to the southeast. Interstate 41 can be seen in the distance and the building to the right is the Kwik Trip on Freedom Road.
A national development firm wants to build a 635,000-square-foot distribution center on 150 acres of land in the town of Lawrence. The property is seen here from the intersection of Williams Grant Drive and Noah Road, looking to the southeast. Interstate 41 can be seen in the distance and the building to the right is the Kwik Trip on Freedom Road.

The Lawrence Town Board in December approved plans for the five-story, 2.9-million-square-foot distribution center despite nearby residents’ concerns about noise, lighting and traffic. The building would have operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week and employed 1,000 to 1,500 people.

The 90-foot-tall building with 630,000-square-feet per floor was proposed for 150 acres of farmland currently owned by Kaukauna-based Milk Source. The land is bordered by Freedom Road/Brown County S to the south, by Mid Valley Drive to the east and Williams Grant Drive/Brown County F to the west.

The project drew opponents and supporters to town meetings last fall and winter.

Opponents said traffic, noise and the building’s size did not fit in the part of the town where families have lived for 20 years and additional housing is expected. They urged town officials to pursue shops, clinics, parks and restaurants in the southwest corner of this township southwest of Green Bay.

Supporters touted the need for more tax base and jobs and felt the warehouse could have spurred the type of restaurants and shops residents want to see in the town.

Wetzel said the town does not have any further comment on the change of plans at this time but expects to provide more of a response "in the coming days."

An aerial view of a distribution center proposed at Freedom Road and Interstate 41 in the town of Lawrence. I-41 can be seen at the bottom of the image and Williams Grant Drive makes up the western (left) boundary of the site.
An aerial view of a distribution center proposed at Freedom Road and Interstate 41 in the town of Lawrence. I-41 can be seen at the bottom of the image and Williams Grant Drive makes up the western (left) boundary of the site.

One thing that will likely not be confirmed now is residents' suspicions that the massive distribution center was being developed for Amazon. Clues like the building's color scheme, design and square footage pointed to Amazon, but Trammel Crow declined to identify its tenant and Amazon declined to comment on future development plans.

Amazon this year has canceled warehouse and distribution projects in several states, including Iowa, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and Alabama, and delayed opening another, in Tennessee, for a year. The company generally does not comment on its construction plans, but various news reports have cited supply chain issues and construction cost inflation as factors in some of those decisions.

RELATED: Massive warehouse mystery: How and why tenants seek anonymity while pursuing development

This is the second large-scale warehouse in two years to be proposed in Lawrence, a town southwest of Green Bay, only to be withdrawn. In summer and fall of 2020, Georgia-Pacific applied to build a 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse off Williams Grant Drive, but withdrew the plans amid resident concerns about truck traffic, noise and lighting.

Contact Jeff Bollier at (920) 431-8387 or jbollier@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffBollier

This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Developer kills plan for warehouse in Lawrence, suspected for Amazon