The Wausau Opportunity Zone, Inc. released further details of a plan on June 1, 2022 to revitalize downtown Wausau by making the former mall property the center of a “place-making” effort to draw people to the Greater Wausau area and responsibly position the city and region for the future.
Per the plan submitted to the City of Wausau Planning Department for the General Development Plan process and made public today, T. Wall Enterprises is working with WOZ for the mall redevelopment project, with a projected $44 million investment from the developer going into the initial plan of Block 4.
The dynamic mixed-use plan includes development of the 7.5-acre plat that once housed the Wausau Center Mall. In addition, the five-part development will ultimately include close to 500 units of affordable market rate housing, as well as small retail, restaurants, dining areas, bike paths and green spaces.
“The opportunity before us is incredibly unique and will create a place where people will be drawn to live, work and create memories for generations to come,” said Chuck Ghidorzi, managing director of WOZ. “In order to attract people to our community, we must invest in creating spaces and places such as this that will act as a magnet for the entrepreneurs, major employers, and others who will fuel the economic and also the cultural growth of the Greater Wausau area.”
Investments to date for the mall revitalization project include approximately $3.1 million from the City of Wausau and $4.4 million from WOZ, which is funded by the Greater Wausau Prosperity Partnership through gifts from the Dwight & Linda Davis Foundation and Judd S. Alexander Foundation.
“The incredible commitment and partnership thus far from public and private entities has positioned our community for success,” said Ghidorzi. “This collaboration will be imperative as
we take the next steps to get this project across the finish line.”
Additional project highlights announced in the initial Block 4 development include:
- Land Returned to City: Of the 327,000 square feet where the mall once stood, about 130,000 square feet of this land will be returned to the city by WOZ for the construction of streets. The remaining 197,000 square feet for development is anticipated to bring in substantial tax revenue each year.
- New Street Design and Construction: Washington Street, 3rd Street extension, Jackson Street, and 2nd Street will be widened and have two-way traffic with parking. The new streets will be 78-feet wide with design features to include parking, bike traffic, wide sidewalks for pedestrians, dining areas, trees and green spaces.
- Environmental Closure: Through a collaborative effort among the “Green Team” of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the City of Wausau and Wausau Opportunity Zone, the project has received environmental “Case Closure” status with a cover, which allows new streets and building construction to move forward.
- Creation of Mixed-Use Building: Foundry on 3rd will have approximately 17,495 square feet of smaller retail and commercial spaces and 154 urban apartments in a mix of studios, one, two, and three-bedroom units. There will be underground parking with an interior courtyard and open-air amenities.
- Creation of Children’s Imaginarium: This 13,570 square feet facility will be developed in the northwest corner of the existing HOM Furniture building.
- HOM Furniture: This 85,000 square feet retail store will continue to serve the Wausau market.
- New Residential Development: Additional residential development of 100 units of lowincome housing at The Landmark, 50 units of low-income housing at West Side Battery site, 30 condominium units at River Life are under construction or are in the planning stages.
- Additional Commercial Development: The Depot will become the new home of the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce and GWPP. WPS Powerhouse will become the Center for Innovation.
“We are looking forward to continuing our work with city leaders to move this project forward in a responsible way that invests in the City of Wausau, but also in this region and the entire state,” said David Eckmann, president & CEO of the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce. “We have a tremendous opportunity, and we are excited to see the profound impact this will have on our community when we all continue to come together to make it happen.”
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