By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — Plans are underway to transform Wausau’s historic Hiawatha Train Station into a unique new distillery and winery that will capitalize on the building’s nostalgia.
Central Time Distillery and Winery, 720 Grant Street, is expected to offer “high-energy” tours, community events, tastings and snacks, along with classic drinks such as Manhattans, Rob Roys and Golden Cadillacs, according to owner Dan Weber.
A full business description is posted on the city’s website as part of a meeting packet for Wausau’s plan commission. The commission meets tonight to discuss Weber’s request for a zoning change from its current residential status to a UDD, or unified development district.
Central Time will offer wines served on tap as well as spirits, such as rum, vodka, cachaca and gin, according to the business plan. A small assortment of food choices will be available, such as a charcuterie meat and cheese tray, soup, nuts and crackers, as part of a partnership with outside vendors, according to the plan. Food trucks are also a possibility.
Seasonal events such as train rides with Santa are also being considered.
City leaders in April approved a $200,000 commercial rehabilitation loan for Weber and his business partner, Kimm VanDen Heuvel. The project is expected to cost about $350,000, not including equipment or furnishings.
The depot was built in 1901 and served the Hiawatha Line for nearly 70 years before the route ended. The building has been vacant since 2015.