A short ceremony Monday kicked off the demolition of six buildings along Second Street in downtown Wausau. The buildings are being torn down to make way for the new Gateway Hotel and office complex.
Construction crews began the demolition at 7 a.m. Officials say it should take about 10 days to clear out the rubble, so construction on the new hotel can begin.
Along with the hotel, the 102,000 square foot complex will have office space, retail space and a restaurant. Some opponents have expressed concern that the $14 million project will cost residents.
Developers like Mark Craig of compass properties say that's not true.
"There's not one dollar of tax payer money that went into this development. We borrowed against the taxes that we'll be creating with the new development to help us finance portions that we otherwise could not have financed.”
Mayor Lawrence agrees.
"We have used debt very wisely. There's good debt, there's bad debt. This is good debt. It's an investment. We're investing in the future of Wausau.”
Mayor Lawrence says that in 11 years the complex will pay for itself. She adds that many of the 150 new jobs created by this project will be management positions, not minimum wage.
Regardless of any opposition, developers aren't wasting any time. The first tenants are expected to move in to the new building by December of this year. One of those tenants will be the Wausau Chamber of Commerce. They recently announced they'll be moving into the first floor of the building.