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Your Town Greater Wausau Area: Landmark building gets renovation, restoration

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:00 AM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Landmark Building on Scott Street and Third, formerly the Hotel Wausau, is getting a renovation and updates to its plumbing and HVAC systems to better serve its residents and preserve a piece of Wausau History.

The building rose from three to its current eight stories when it was bought in 1924 by Walter Schroeder. He was one of the first entrepreneurs to invest in a chain of hotels in the Midwest, and the Hotel Wausau became his eleventh property. It became a destination hotel for anyone passing through the area.

“It was designed to be impressive and it was. It had a two-story lobby with a fountain in it. They had a coffee shop. . . in the ‘20s and ‘30s that’s a little before the trend of coffee shops but they had one – a restaurant, a ballroom. After Prohibition ended they had a cocktail lounge called the Blue Fountain Room that they opened up,” said Marathon County Historical Society Archivist and Historian Ben Clark.

The highway moved out of town in 1963, bringing less travelers past the hotel. Occupancy declined, bringing hard times, and five years later it was sold to Ray and Marie Goldbach.

The Goldbachs kept the business going until deciding to close it in 1974 and turn it into affordable housing apartments. It was listed at that time as a local historical landmark.

Gorman and Company are the latest group to acquire the building. They got it onto the National Register of Historic Places and are using the tax breaks associated with that to help with the latest renovations and upgrades. It will remain affordable housing with income requirements.

“This is a great opportunity for our downtown to increase the standard of living for affordable housing in the downtown area, and to ensure that our workforce has a place to stay and live in the heart of our city,” said River District Executive Director Blake Opal-Wahoske.

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