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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9 replies on “City to explore mall redevelopment with WEDC grant”

  1. Mark my words, the owners of the mall will do their best to wring some money out of the taxpayer, and the city will fall for it.

  2. Golly gee, I’m SO glad this “process” will involve marketing consultants! I’m sure these geniuses will meld minds with our current brain trust to come up with something incredibly innovative! -GAG-
    What part of the planet will these marketing consultants come from? I hope they’re not from here. I mean, why on earth would we need people from this area, who live here, pay taxes here, buy here and are employed here to figure out that the mall needs to be “re-purposed”? Certainly, the need to spend probably thousands more of taxpayer dollars is sorely needed to figure out how to put even another layer of lipstick on this pig.
    Lastly, I’m also incredibly appreciative that Herr Schock will be recusing himself from this process. Oh wait, that’s not what he meant when he said “we’ll have more intelligence than before”? My bad.

  3. Rialto: “Our team of approximately 350 professionals is supported by Lennar’s ground network of more than 8,000 Associates across the country.”

    Mid-America Management Corporation: ”A Diversified Portfolio Of 46 Properties In 12 States”

    And the downtown clique with their pumpkins are going to tell them how to run their private businesses.

  4. So tax money is being used to tell the mall owners what they should do with their own property. Here’s an idea, why don’t the owners of the mall spend their own money to determine what they should do with their own property.

    1. I agree Stan. I am all for investing in things that help our community grow, but this is a little absurd. If I read it correctly, money from taxpayers will be spent on coming up with ideas for a private property to use. The thing is, is the mall in such dire straights that the owners are going to abandon it? If this is the case, then it is a sort of red flag emergency. I mean, it does not serve Wausau to have the mall shuttered at this point, that would be a negative anchor for the downtown economic engine (I am trying to use econ dev words).

      But, if the mall is just struggling, then I do not get this. There are lots of other businesses that are struggling, and I do not see the City of Wausau taxpayer offering up tax money to help them get on track.

      I wonder if the City is not communicating this very well (old dead horse), or if the reporting is strained (highly unlikely here) or if something else is going on.

      But, we should hear from the mall owners, the businesses that exist in the mall, etc.

  5. Dino, you state your case very well, and I agree. The main problem I have is that the city can do all of the studies they want (at taxpayer expense) and the mall owners can tell the city to stick their study where the sun don’t shine. Then all we have accomplished is a waste of taxpayer money. Sound familiar?

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