Downtown Refresh FAQs
Find the answer to your questions about every phase of the Downtown Wausau revitalization projects.
Wausau Mall Stores: The Buckle, Maurices and Spencer’s now call the Rib Mountain Drive retail corridor their home. Reflexology Massage is now located on 3rd street and Fashion Mix is located at their new location on Thomas Street.
Washington Avenue and Third Street will be open during demolition. However, occasionally streets may be temporarily closed for movement of large equipment or work done to the front of the Wausau Mall. This will be done for safety reasons. Street closure signage will be posted to warn and redirect traffic.
Will the current Wausau Mall parking ramps be open? Is it safe to park in the ramps during construction?
Parking ramps are easily accessible from the city streets and are clearly marked with signage. Enjoy 2 hours of free parking on any downtown street, parking lot or ramp. Click here to find the hours for ramps and lots by location or to see a downtown parking map.
Street Parking: Enjoy 2 hours of free parking on any downtown street. No registration required. No re-parking in the same block for the day.
Lot Parking: Park and register your license plate using the lot’s Pay Station or Passport Parking phone app. The first 2 hours are free per day.
Ramp Parking: Park and register your license plate using the ramp’s Pay Station or Passport Parking phone app. The first 2 hours are free per day.
Yes, parking ramps are easily accessible from the city streets and are clearly marked with signage.
The JC Penney building will remain standing for now because it sits atop an important and valued parking structure. The building serves as a protective barrier against the elements, too. Once future development for the current JC Penney site is identified, the building will be removed to make way for a new development.
The mall area being redeveloped is 6. 5 acres. This does not include JC Penny which will be a 2.65 acre development. Of the 6.5 acres currently under development, approximately 2.6 acres was returned to the City of Wausau for street development (2nd Street, 3rd Street, and Jackson Street)
The City/County Parks Department secured the statue, keeping it safe until they determine a new place to relocate the Boy with the Boot.
The redevelopment will unfold in phases over several years. Sewer and temporary street construction are projected to be completed in August 2023, HOM Furniture façade is projected to be completed in summer 2023, the Children’s Imaginarium is projected to open in fall 2023 and Foundry on 3rd is projected to break ground in spring 2024.
The plans for the site include mixed use of market-rate apartments, restaurants, retail and specialty boutique businesses. Opportunities for office space will be available, too. Accompanying the development of new streets and buildings will be public green space and public marketplace.
Opportunity zones are economically distressed areas designated by the U.S. government to promote development and prosperity. These zones were established as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural areas. Investors can receive attractive tax incentives while also supporting the revitalization of struggling areas. The State of Wisconsin has designated tracts in downtown Wausau to offer great opportunities for the community.
The mall redevelopment zone is entirely in TIF District 12, as of April 2023 when the boundaries were amended.
Tax Increment Districts (TIDs) are designated areas that allow new tax increments created in the district to be used within the district to incentivize development. When a TID is created, baseline property values are frozen and the new increment subsequently generated is returned to specific projects and used for public infrastructure improvements in the area. Whether a project receives Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance is determined by a “but for” test. The “but for” test assesses whether the project could happen in the same location, in the same timeframe, or in the same scope “but for” TIF assistance.
TIF is not used to finance projects that could occur without assistance or projects that would not grow the tax base enough in the long term to justify its use. TIF is used to finance developments that would not otherwise occur, that increase the tax base. A large tax base helps everyone’s tax bills go down, so growth is key. TIF can encourage growth and is therefore a useful tool to grow the tax base while controlling increasing tax burdens.
TIF assistance is the primary tool to incentivize developments in Wisconsin. Wausau primarily uses reverse or pay-go TIF for qualifying developments, meaning that no up-front money is invested in the project. In these cases, the developer only receives TIF payments, generated by the project, after a project has started generating the new increment. Click here for more information.
A five-story building with 154 urban apartments, ranging from micro-units to three-bedroom units. There will be underground parking, green space in the courtyard and co-working spaces for tenants. Approximately 17,500 square feet of retail and commercial spaces are included in the plans.
Downtown housing currently is in demand. This complex will be a magnetic place for young professionals and others who want to live downtown with nearby restaurants, shopping, special events, entertainment and other walkable amenities. It also offers retail space to shop owners wanting to be positioned in the heart of the city.