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City to explore mall redevelopment with WEDC grant

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By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — City leaders and stakeholders will undergo a planning process to re imagine the Wausau Center mall, thanks to a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Commission.

A Wausau Center redevelopment market study and plan will kick off with a public meeting at 5 p.m. May 31 in Council Chambers at Wausau City Hall.

The planning process will include participation from the mall’s current owners, city officials said. The move was announced Tuesday by Economic Development Director Chris Schock.

The study will engage market consultants who can help determine the best use of the mall, which is currently owned by Miami-based Rialto and managed by Mid-America Management of Milwaukee.

“Obviously, the planning can’t come too soon,” Schock told members of the economic development committee.

Schock did not say how much the city is receiving from WEDC, but said the planning process is expected to take a couple of months.

The announcement likely means that planning for a potential movie theater at the former Sears site is in a holding pattern, though the idea isn’t necessarily out of the question. Compass Properties LLC had been exploring a potential theater at the site after earlier plans for a 10-screen complex fell through.

“I think everyone is going to watch this process,” Schock said. “We are very appreciative of the state’s support, and we’ll have more intelligence than before.”

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