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Wausau Opportunity Zone presents downtown master plan

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 10:00 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - We’re getting our first look at the future of downtown Wausau and redeveloping the Wausau Center Mall.

Tuesday night, members of the economic development and finance committees saw renderings of what could come.

Wausau Opportunity Zone presented a plan of extending third street to add retail, apartments and a beer garden.

There would be a pedestrian walkway.

The former JC Penney building would be turned into apartments, and include a bridge that leads to the riverfront and farmers market.

Developer Chuck Ghidorzi says they’ll likely focus first on the building at 3rd and Washington.

“That would give us 140 some units of residential,” said Ghidorzi, managing director of WOZ, “it’ll start the imaging of third street. The first phase would be to work toward demolition and work with the tenants that are in the mall area, kind of work through that. Continue to come back to the city and collaborate with the city.”

In total it would add 80,000 square feet of retail, 458 apartments, 200,000 square feet of office space and 532 new parking stalls.

This was a presentation only and the committees did not make any decisions.

We’re also learning the Wausau Chamber is very close to saving Clark Island.

Chamber president and CEO Dave Eckmann told committee members Wisconsin Public Service holds the permits to demolish the building.

“A last ditch effort after efforts were completed to secure the Wausau Center Mall, we took a quick pivot and worked with WPS to save that building,” Eckmann said

Eckmann added once the chamber has the lease, it will put its building up for sale and invest $500,000 back into Clark Island to make it an innovation center. They’re working with MCDEVCO (Marathon County Development Corporation) to bring the two back together in the same building.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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