WAUSAU — An auction for the Wausau Center mall has been postponed one week, according to the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department.

An order for foreclosure was filed June 5, according to Marathon County Circuit Court documents. The sheriff auction, which is a public auction of property repossessed by a mortgage lender, is set for 9 a.m. July 18. No reason was given for the rescheduling.

The auction could be the latest blow to redevelopment plans for the 424,000 square foot downtown mall, which has been in decline for years. When Wausau Center opened in 1983, the mall boasted three anchor tenants: J.C. Penney, Sears, and Prange’s, which was later acquired by Bon Ton Stores and is now branded as Younkers. Of those three, only Younkers remains today.

CBL & Associates Properties, the former owner of Wausau Center, said they spent significant time and resources over a two-year period to revitalize the mall, but delays, city approval and other red tape “hindered their progress.”

As a result, Tennessee-based CBL Associates turned its nearly $18 million mortgage back to the bank, essentially walking away from the property. Court documents indicate Wells Fargo Bank initially issued the loan.

When CBL defaulted on the loan, Rialto Capital Management of Miami hired Mid-America Real Estate Group of Milwaukee to take over the mall. Last summer, Economic Development Director Chris Schock positioned the move as good for Wausau. In August, Schock told reporters and council members that the investors who held the debt on the mall had no plans to sell, but intended to invest more into the shopping center.

Mid-America Real Estate Group does not list Wausau Center among the group’s managed properties.

At auction, the current lender is free to bid on the property but is not required to do so. Other bidders could also come forward.

If the lender does not win the auction, all proceeds from the sale will be applied to the amount due the lender, according to the order. As of May 30, the total amount due was listed as $18,922,717 including principal, interest, default interest and late penalties.

3 replies on “Mall auction postponed 1 week”

      1. The larger picture here is that despite the malls struggle to attract and retain retailers it remains quality indoor space and has underground parking that the area sorely lacks. New ideas need to brought forward to re-purpose some of the open space to professionals like dentists, chiropractors, walk-in’s, daycare etc. that bring foot traffic during the day. Think of how it is out here December through March and imagine not having to deal with snow to take in an appointment especially when your under the weather or older. This has been a successful formula in other areas of the country so it’s a bit surprising it’s not being explored here. Lastly, spending a fair amount of my career in brick and mortar retail, a theater patron rarely buys anything at a mall going to or leaving a movie and only serves to cannibalize the parking. If a theater was incorporated in the design of a mall it was always located in an obscure area away from its retailers not in a prime location

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