DE PERE, Wis. — Hours before the doors open for business at "Hey, Soup Sister" in De Pere, staff are busy preparing the days food.

That includes Kahlie Hill. She spent a recent morning slicing tomatoes and preparing cilantro at the custom soup cafe.

What You Need To Know

  • Local developers are proposing a multi-use development in De Pere’s downtown

  • It uses land occupied by a vacant Shopko store

  • The project envisions living, business, retail and plaza space 

Hey, Soup Sister opened four years ago and draws people from around Green Bay to its location at 115 N. Wisconsin St. in downtown De Pere.

“We’ll have people come down and they’ll say, ‘I’m from Suamico and I’ve wanted to try this,’” Hill said. “Most of our regulars live and work in the downtown area. It’s close for them, but we’ve got people who come in from everywhere.”

She can look out the front window of cafe and see the site of a former Shopko store that closed five years ago.

“It felt like unused space,” Hill said. “It was not being able to use that parking lot and all that area that was going untouched for so many years. We’re really excited there’s going to be something there in the future.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Demolition of the Shopko started late last year and is now complete.

A group of local development partners are proposing a five building mixed-use development for the site. It includes housing, business and retail space, a city parking garage and a public plaza.

Dan Lindstrom, De Pere’s development services director, said this kind of private development is key to growing business in the city’s downtown area.

“The one thing we’re asked is why can’t we have more restaurants. As part of that, restaurants need daily customers. With that comes rooftops in your downtown,” he said. “We’re you’re looking at adding a couple hundred people to your downtown that brings in opportunity to bring in more coffee shops and more restaurants as an economic value.”

This kind of project also brings the potential for additional jobs.

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

“People who can live and work in the same downtown… is what we’re trying to strive to do because that’s how it was done for many hundreds of years in this country," Windstorm said. “As technologies and times change, we’ve switched more to the suburban model. Now, we’re coming back to looking at our downtowns as a great place to live, work and play.”

Hill said Hey, Soup Sister is looking forward to the potential of the proposed development.

“We think it’s going to bring more foot traffic to the area and just bring things to our downtown De Pere economy,” she said. “Which I think is going to be a good thing all around.”