Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the property value of the parcel, which changed in 2011 after buildings were demolished on the site.

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — City leaders agreed on Tuesday to waive their right of first refusal for a west side property and allow Apogee Wausau Group to sell the parcels to Kwik Trip for $1 million.

The city had the right of first refusal on the property at 1415 West Street because of an existing development agreement reached in March 2011 with Apogee. At that time, the city council approved a $400,000 grant to assist Apogee in tearing down buildings on the site to better re-position the property for redevelopment.

But in the more than six years since the agreement was reached, proposed redevelopment never materialized. The two parcels of property at 1415 West Street, the former site of a Wausau Window and Wall plant, had a combined assessed value of $2,011,800 before the buildings on the site were demolished, according to Marathon County land records. The current value is $439,700.

Neither the original development agreement nor any related background information were included in the packets for the finance committee meeting or the full council meeting. But Wausau Pilot and Review reviewed copies of minutes from meetings in 2011, received from the city clerk’s office, that outlined the plan.

Under the terms of the original agreement, the city would have received 50 percent of the profits if the land sold for more than $1.2 million.

The $1 million sale to Kwik Trip will leave the city empty handed initially, but will provide increased tax revenue once the land is fully developed.

Council President Lisa Rasmussen said the initial agreement signed in 2011 lacked clawback provisions that are now standard in all development agreements.

Under the right of first refusal provision, the city’s options this week were either to buy the property for $1 million or allow the private sector purchaser to do so.

“Since we have no intention of spending $1M on the parcel, we needed to step aside,” said Rasmussen, who voted against the original agreement in 2011. “Obviously, we don’t have any project on the docket for the site that is any better than what was proposed.”

Economic Development Director Chris Schock told the finance committee a cooperative request for proposals was issued on that parcel about 18 months ago, but no proposals resulted from the effort.

“I might still have voted against it in 2011, but at least today, even with the “yes” votes having won that debate, we would have perhaps have been left with some better options than what amounted to “buy it or set it free for someone else to”, Rasmussen said. “At least the proposed project will begin to generate taxes to pay us back sooner than vacant land would.”

17 replies on “Update: City approves request to sell west side development property”

  1. $400 000…yet more shameful corporate welfare dished out by Council at the expense of the taxpayers of Wausau.

    Apogee Wausau appears to be a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, a very large, international company with multiple companies and subsidiaries. For the first half of 2017, the company reported net sales of $616,214,000. That’s more than half a BILLION dollars. *It’s “C” level executives were paid in excess of $20 MILLION last year alone. *

    And for the first half of 2017, the company reported net sales of $616,214,000. That’s more than half a BILLION dollars. *

    What in the H-E-double hockey sticks do members of Council think when they throw taxpayer money at companies like this??

    * (cite: https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=251050)

    1. Max, I agree thst it seems like 5 years ago the somemembers of the council lost all common sense is getting involved with the deal. However, that,s water under the bridge at this point. At least something is being built on the sight thst will generate substantial tax revenue, with asking for any city money.

  2. Oh good God…….ANOTHER freaking Kwik Trip? There’s a brand spanking new gas station about 3/4 mile north of there at the intersection of Stewart and 17th. Hey Schock, do you really think another gas station is needed that close? Not to mention the MULTIPLE gas stations between McDonalds and Applebee’s, and entier what….mile away? Here’s a novel idea…..how about selling the Sears bldg. to Kwik Trip? Seriously! The Mobil station by the court house could certainly use some more Kwik Trip competition other than the new Kwik Trip 1/2 mile from the Mobil. If that falls through, I’m sure Walgreens or CVS would love to have that nice, big, EMPTY building. What a freaking maroon.

  3. Call1911, I beg to disagree. You don’t want a Kwik Trip, so I am assuming you prefer a vacant lot that generates only a minimum amount of tax money to a structure thst will add about 3.5 million to the tax base., and is not asking for a dime of taxpayer money. You must have lost your mind. Exactly what did you have in mind for a piece of property thst has been vacant for many years.

    I await your reply.

    1. Yes Stan, I’d rather see a vacant lot than ANOTHER FREAKING KWIK TRIP within the city of Wausau. No, sorry. I haven’t lost or misplaced my mind either. So it’s all about simply adding to the tax base? To hell with what’s built on a parcel of property, right? Tell me Stan, just HOW MANY gas stations are needed within one square mile of each other?
      That parcel has been empty for “many years” and to my eyes and as someone who lives on the west side of Wausau, it will remain just fine empty in lieu of another gas station. Maybe that location would be good for the movie theater the geniuses at city hall seem to have wet dreams over.
      There’s your reply.

      1. Call1911, by the tone of your reply I feel thst you have lost your mind. If you feel a vacant lot is better for the tax base than a convenience store/gas station you are going extremely short sided. Anybody who will build a structure, no matter what it is, without asking the city for one dime is OK in my book.

        What’s the problem with a Kwik-Trip any way? Who are you, the building police. You get to decide what gets built and what doesn’t. We have two food stores on the west side within a half a mile of each other. You have a problem with that?

        You usually present a lucid case for your argument. In this case not so much.

        I will admit that the knuckleheads who sunk $400,000.00 into this deal were not to bright. But sometimes you just have to make the best out of a bad situation.

        Life isn’t always fair.

    2. In addition, after reading the story above again: So the city of Wausau gave Apogee $400k to help raze the old buildings AND are now allowing them to sell the two parcels for $1 million, which is over one million UNDER the assessed property value! Let’s do some quick math, shall we Stan? That’s $400k plus $1+ million under the assessed value of the property. Can we just round it to $1.5 million “in the hole”? Wonderful, huh? So how many years of “tax revenue” would it take to recoup those losses? Oh, and where are you getting this “$3.5 million to the tax base” number(s)? $3.5 million a year? Surely not. The Kwik Trip gas station would be valued at $3.5 million? If so, is that $3.5 mil include the roughly $1.5 mil. the city would (already have) lost on those two parcels?
      I await your reply.

      1. The article is incorrect. There are not 2 parcels of property here. It is one parcel of property with an assessed value of $439,700. In the Marathon county land records system, there are 2 PIN numbers associated with this property. One PIN was from prior to 2012, when the building was on the property. After the building was removed, that PIN was deleted, and a new PIN was made, showing the assessed value of the vacant commercial lot which is currently $439,700. The article incorrectly is adding the values of both the previous PIN and the active PIN to come up with the assessed value.

        The argument that the city should never have paid to tear down the building is completely separate from the current situation. The city was never planning to recoup those costs. To do so, the value of the property would have had to triple, which realistically only would happen if there was development on the property. It was a way to prevent the current owner from doing their own development, nothing else.

      2. Thank you for pointing that out, Brian. The value of the property changed in 2011 after buildings were demolished. The story has been updated with an editor’s note to include both figures.

      3. Call1911

        I remember a sign that I saw in the past at a restaurant where was having lunch. The sign read, “Never Try And Teach A Pig To Sing. It Wastes Your Time And Annoys The Pig.” I think that sign will be my reply to your comment.

        Also check out the comment posted below by Brian. That may clear up matter for you.

    3. Is this like the land across from Menards that been vacant, What happened there? The Company that was going to build their, built in Rib Mountain I believe ….

  4. A Kwik Trip, really, we have enough fuel stations in this town that rip people off on there gas prices, they can’t all be the same in this small town, oh it’s the fricking location, just like Rissner the ones that controls the fuel prices, maybe a Krist would be better. How about a Golden Coral that be better, Oh wait maybe Rib Mountain will make it happen… the city worries about that…. How are great Mall doing?

  5. Let’s not forget that every Kwik Trip going up takes more business away from Riiser —locally owned. Wausau will soon TIF itself into financial trouble. Tax rates will continue to rise and City Credit ratings will get worse — which will result in higher borrowing rates. Riiser has been a great Community Business.

    1. So maybe the folks at Riiser should have purchased the property and build on it. Aredyou saying the only local companies can expand?

  6. I’m saying we have more than enough gas stations —close enough to each other. And, the City has invested
    in other gas station projects like the Store on Stewart/3rd Ave —still yet to fill building & apartments. I assume
    the City thought this was such a valuable piece of property –not for another gas station to compete with other
    gas stations like Riiser —-surely for better use than this. This will only take business away from Riiser, The Store,
    others. Less gasoline dollars for locally owned contributors, like Riiser, less stays in the Community. Riisers donations have been invaluable to the Community. Riiser lives here, banks here, hires here, buys here, donates here ++++. When was the last time you saw Kwik Trips name as a sponsor of Performing Arts, other non-profit organizations.

    1. I am a free market guy. The Kwik-Trip will pay properly taxes and it’s enployees will spend their paychecks locally. Both of these activities will benefit the city of Wausau much more than a vacant lot would.

      In case you haven’t noticed, we have two food stores within a half a mile of one another. You have a problem with that?

  7. I don’t understand the problem people have with the buyer of this property. I do believe this was a better location for this movie theatre, plenty of space. But clearly the powers that be want to force the issue and get them to the Sears site, no matter the cost to taxpayers.

    As far as I am seeing this deal the taxpayers are out and never should have been involved, but now that we are we need to get out and get some tax money moving into the quagmire of TID 6. Another thing nobody seems to be discussing is the potential of what will be developed on the parcel that kwik trip will not be using.

    This company I’m sure has done it’s due diligence and I’m certain has had its eyes on 17th ave for some time. Yes there are other stations close by, who cares, they are willing to invest millions into this property. And as far as Riiser and Jim Kemerling doing the same thing I’m glad he didn’t. I have not stepped foot into one of his stores since the evening of 9/11/2001 When I was able to witness his price gouging personally, while I’m sure other companies in the area including KT may have done so, I saw his ripoff myself.

    As far as I’m concerned KT come on in, and when your done there, I can think of a few other places in town you can expand to.

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