A football dream house


Six-man pro
Go to the link and take a look at the pictures ... this guy buys a house across the street from Lambeau Field ... he uses it 10 weekends a year when he flies into Green Bay for the game ...


Lambeau's changing landscape

The heart of Packers fandom remains the same, but the face of football's favorite stadium is evolving

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Posted: Nov. 17, 2007

Green Bay - So this is what Packers' heaven must look like

It's a party house across the street from Lambeau Field, with green-and-gold Packers carpets in the bedrooms, a 55-inch high-definition TV over the fieldstone fireplace, a grill out back, a deck atop a garage and - be still my heart - a bathroom suite that features a fully operational urinal topped by a small-screen television.

"It's designed by men for men," says Mike Holton. "My wife had nothing to do with this. It was my project."

Holton's home is real, all right, a weekend retreat used 10 times a year by the Atlanta businessman and his family - a small sign that game day at Lambeau is undergoing change.

Sure, there's still very much a timeless quality about pro football on the tundra: the tailgating, the cheeseheads, the parking on neighbors' lawns, the parties inside garages and the stroll through "Leave It to Beaver" suburbia into pro football's most famous stadium. There really is no other place like it in the National Football League, where many stadiums are located off expressways and surrounded by acres of asphalt.

But Green Bay Packers' football is a big business in a small place, and that business has an impact on the community around Lambeau Field.
Last week, the Packers announced they are working on a deal with a local developer that would - combined with other transactions over the past two years - nearly double the Lambeau complex footprint to 60 acres.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Some of the land will be used to increase on-site game-day parking, which now stands at about 3,700 spaces. Longer term, the Packers are keeping their options open as the world of sports, entertainment and tourism merge.

"We want to preserve the character and tradition we cherish here," says Jason Wied, Packers vice president of administration/general counsel. "That's our value and our brand. We need to keep an eye on trends. But we aren't changing who we are."

The village of Ashwaubenon also has a master plan to transform a light industrial area between Oneida St. and Holmgren Way into a district of shops, businesses and condos, with the Packers' training site serving as the centerpiece. Picture an Olympic village crossed with an American main street.

But things are already happening in the area.

Take Holton's home, one of around a half-dozen weekend party houses to sprout in recent years in the neighborhoods around Lambeau. Holton and his wife, Lynn, 41, are Brookfield natives and passionate Packers fans. They've passed on the love of the team to their two daughters, Linsey, 11, and Allyssa, 7, who wander around the house in Packers jerseys. The family flies up from Atlanta for all the home Packers games.

But their game-day commute takes about 20 minutes - the walk from their front door to their seats.

A year ago, Holton, 42, who runs a private equity firm, purchased a then-modest two-bedroom home overlooking Lombardi Ave. He gutted it, blew out the back of the house, added 900 square feet, put in magnificent sliding glass doors, hickory floors, top-of-the-line kitchen equipment - hey, a guy has to eat - and outfitted the joint in Packers paraphernalia, everything from vintage black-and-white photos to helmets.

And, he added a few special touches, such as a beer tap plugged into the outside of the garage - "pretty sweet, isn't it?" he says - an outdoor horseshoe pit, and enough space in the family room to accommodate a full-length antique pool table.

Holton is aware that if more party houses rise in the neighborhood, the feel and charm of Lambeau might change.

"If other people want to do it, that's their business," he says. "We enjoy this from a personal standpoint. I don't rent my home out. It's something I do for my family."

On another side of Lambeau there's another sign of change.

Don and Mary Terrien have lived off Valley View Road in Lambeau's shadow for nearly 40 seasons, in a comfortable home on a two-acre piece of land that backs up to the stadium parking lot. On game days, they're outside, helping cars maneuver on their lawn. They can pack in 150 a game.

"I charge $22," says Don Terrien, 59, a salesman for Klement's Sausage. "If you're a friend, it's free."

But this is the last season they'll be parking cars. The Terriens sold out to the Packers in June for $2.05 million. In April, they'll move out for good and the property will likely be paved over for more parking at Lambeau.

The Terriens didn't turn their backs on their longtime customers, though. They arranged for them to get spots in the new lot.

"Things change," Don Terrien says. "Not much you can do about that."

Others who live near the Packers' parking lots are keeping their eyes glued to the real estate market. A house that might be worth $130,000 could sell for more if it's turned into Lambeau parking spaces.

"I don't want to sell," says Gary R. Mommaerts, 72, who moved onto Stadium Drive in 1961 when a three-bedroom home cost $12,500. Back then, the neighborhood consisted of one football stadium, a large parking lot, some homes and lots of farmland.

"There was no gravel on the streets," Mommaerts says. "Now, the trees have gotten bigger. But the homeowners are still first generation."

On some game days, Mommaerts can be found in his backyard, sitting in a lawn chair, watching the Packers game on a big-screen television, the actual roar of the crowd echoing in the distance. It's not too far-fetched to imagine that in a few years, the house and yard might be gone, paved over for parking.

Over on True Lane, Jody Laehn lives with her husband and two sons in the home her father built in 1968.

"When I was little, we used to park cars for 50 cents," she says. "I remember holding a sign that said, 'Easy Out.' Now, we're at $20. Parking pays for college tuition."

She's not worried about what the future may bring to her neighborhood. It's still quiet most days, an idyllic suburb. And she has her memories of growing up around Lambeau.

"I've always seen it out my window," she says. "When I was little we'd run around and play in there. We'd run all over the field. Now, it's sacred."