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.