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Former Daily Planet site downtown Green Bay becoming "Backstage at the Meyer"

A downtown Green Bay eyesore will undergo a transformation this year.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - A downtown Green Bay eyesore will undergo a transformation this year.

The project is expected to increase visitors and revenue for the historic Meyer Theatre.     

For 15 years the corner of Walnut and Washington didn't get a second look.

"It is a blighted property and it is high time we make something happen there" says Jeff Mirkes the Board of Directors President for the Meyer Theatre.

Today the curtain was lifted on plans to renovate the former Daily Planet into a facility called "Backstage at the Meyer.

"It is going to be a classy cool space that could host a corporate event, and hors d'oeuvres party with entertainment, a banquet of upwards of about 200 people" Mirkes says.

Upstairs, office space rentals will boost revenue.

"It will help us with acts. It will be nicer and easier for them to operate here" says Ken Wachter, PMI Entertainment Group President and CEO.

The Meyer Theatre itself has 1011 seats. The new venue will include a smaller stage so the audience can experience a more intimate performance.

"It just really makes the Meyer a better venue for everybody" Wachter says.  

Performers are excited to offer dinner and a show. 

"We have almost 800 season ticket holders this year and we are bringing in 25,000 people a year so we want them to have a full experience" says Frank Hermans, with Let Me Be Frank Productions.

The Meyer has owned the site for more than a decade. This is not the first time plans have surfaced. 

"I do not think the confidence was in downtown quite honestly from some of the corporate donors that we needed who are very supportive now" says Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.

Several significant donations are already on the books toward the $3 million price tag.  

"It sends out a message that there is something going on there that I want to be a part of. We think it will be like the Meyer Theatre rolling out a red carpet and creating a new image".

In addition to raising money for this project, The Meyer Theatre is also planning to spend $500,000 on major maintenance work inside the existing theatre.      

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