By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — City officials on Tuesday will review a plan for HOM Furniture to redevelop the former Younkers store space at Wausau Center in downtown Wausau.

A resolution entering into an agreement with HOM Furniture is included in the public information packet for Tuesday’s city council meeting. HOM intends to buy the property at 300 Forest St. in Wausau from private owners S & B Detrick Limited Partnership, of Delaware, but must receive a signed estoppel letter from the city to facilitate the sale. An Estoppel Letter is a document often used in due diligence in real estate and mortgage activities. It is a document often completed, but at least signed, by a tenant used in his or her landlord’s proposed transaction with a third party.

The Bon-Ton, the parent company of Younkers, closed the store earlier this year.

This marks the second time HOM Furniture has expressed interest in a Wausau store. HOM was one of two businesses to respond to a request for proposals issued in September 2016 to develop the former Sears property. That property, purchased by the city in 2017 for $650,000, remains vacant more than two years after Sears shut down operations there. But city leaders in January 2017 rejected HOM in favor of a proposed Micon movie theater for the site. The theater never materialized.

The decision to choose Micon over the other RFP applicant, HOM Furniture, was not without debate. During the January 2017 city council meeting, then-Alderman Romey Wagner said he preferred HOM Furniture in part because they would not have required a loan. The company’s initial plan showed HOM was willing to invest more than $6 million to establish the store at the Sears location with an estimated 10-year impact in the community of $35 million. Comparable stores employ 28 full-time employees who earn average salaries averaging about $38,000 per year.

HOM Furniture is one of the nation’s largest furniture retailers serving customers in the upper Midwestern states of Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

If HOM Furniture is successful in launching the store the plan would nix one of two proposed design concepts for the mall, which were unveiled last week during the city’s economic development committee meeting. But one of the two concepts would still be possible, bringing streets through the current mall structure, breaking portions of the mall into smaller redevelopment parcels and keeping the current Younkers footprint intact.

Design Concept A, which consultants presented in October to city officials, shows potential dramatic changes to the mall. This plan would still be viable if HOM Furniture relocates to the former Younkers space. (Photo: City of Wausau documents)

23 replies on “City docs: Former Younkers space to become HOM Furniture”

  1. Wausau is soooo lucky someone is even considering looking at that location.

    This sentence is all that matters…Comparable stores employ 28 full-time employees who earn average salaries averaging about $38,000 per year. If they can create and keep that many jobs at that salary/wage it will be win for everyone.

    Also i hope we are not letting them off the hook by paying property taxes. Maybe Give them a deal on the building but don’t give them both.

  2. The population of Wausau has been the same for the last (20) some years. They are going to shift Furniture & Appliance Mart business to downtown. Could they compete with Amazon? Most likely not! What would it accomplish for tax payers? Nothing! Most likely offer them some tax incentives that will make the downtown clique happy that their antiquated monopoly will survive for few more years subsidized by tax payers.

  3. It is a question of time before one of these businesses or a class of them, will be suing the city for unfair business practices. For Shock to go around and attract competing business as long they settle downtown with tax payer’s subsidies, is unfair for established, competing, tax paying businesses. I have no problem when the city offers some basic incentives equally to all businesses. What we have been seeing are major “partnerships” and bailouts as in guarantors of downtown ventures (failed ones too).

  4. OOOH, Ron, this is something I never considered. Holy crap that is insightful.

    ” For Shock to go around and attract competing business as long they settle downtown with tax payer’s subsidies, is unfair for established, competing, tax paying businesses.”

    That is fascinating to consider.

    1. There is enough repetitive scenarios with the downtown favoritism that is hurting established businesses in Wausau (outside the downtown), that any attorney can sue the city for years and years of lost revenues. I hope the idiots know what they are doing. If any of this scenario will take place, tax payers will make sure the hundreds of millions lawsuit will come ONLY from the TIF district.

      1. Ron,

        I do not want to ask you to do work on something, but I was wondering if you could post a list of some examples. I want to see more of what you are thinking here.

    2. Dino, I am not an attorney. If I had a business that gets damaged with preferential treatment due to government involvement, I will check my options. If I can prove my business profits were x amounts for years and due to unfair preferential treatment of government resulted in substantial loss, I believe that business will have options to fix the injustice from stupidity. How would you like having government employees, supported with your tax dollars, seek, encourage and promote your competition to set up camp under your nose? Most likely subsidized with your tax dollars. Government should stick on fixing roads, collecting garbage and lowering our taxes.

      1. Ron, Buddy. The city can lower your taxes by increasing the tax base within general the city. They do that by enticing businesses to locate within the city. Those businesses then pay property taxes to the city. Th city is free to bring ant the of business they can. Just because you might own a specific business does not mean the city cannot entice a competing business to the city.

        Your lack of understanding of how things work in the real world is nothing short of stunning.

      2. “Those businesses then pay property taxes to the city” TIF as in it goes to advance the interest of the Downtown Clique.

  5. Guys, it is business and people seeking to rent r buy the facility have that right! Younkers sold furniture… so unless you have evidence, this is all about business!

      1. Hey, Call, Younkers actually did sell furniture the entire time they were in the mall. They actually had great stuff. I bought my favorite couch there. When you drive past on Forest Street you can see the loading dock area. There’s an employee entrance on that side too – anyway that’s the general location. A little better setup for big truck deliveries than what Sears had, too.

    1. “unless you have evidence” For years now Shock has been enticing businesses to move into the mall, including HOM that they offered all kind of incentives. Now they selected another space with “… must receive a signed estoppel letter from the city to facilitate the sale”. Furniture & Appliance Mart are just stupid that their business will suffer without questioning the city, cause Governmental John wants evidence. Maybe this will help you comprehend better. It is like Shock shifts your pension to a private school teacher and you will do nothing. Is it sinking in?

      1. “Governmental John wants evidence. Maybe this will help you comprehend better. It is like Shock shifts your pension to a private school teacher and you will do nothing. Is it sinking in?”

        That is choice… I am just a citizen.
        Do you have any evidence?
        Shock doesn’t control my pension… I earned that and it is controlled by the state. While some pensions have been canceled for workers, not mine! I paid in and it has been successfully invested… let that sink in!

        To bad we weren’t younger and couldn’t settle this on the basketball talk… you talk smack but can’t deliver in the clutch.

  6. Didn’t they carve out the TID to go around Younkers? For years I was understanding that the owners of the old Younkers property were from California? Has Detrick been previously identified as the owner?

  7. Enk, I’m still waiting to hear what kind of freaking FURNITURE Younkers sold? C’mon…..how about you “deliver in the clutch” for………once?

    1. The whole West end of the store had furniture… didn’t you ever go there? They had beds, sofas, lounge chairs, cabinets, dressers, dining sets, all the standard items… bought a lovely mattress there!

      Call, I always deliver in the clutch, haven’t you noticed that yet! The also sold dishes, vacuums, clothing for men, women, children, jewelry, shoes, pots, pans, coffee makers…

      Getting a business in the Mall is good for the mall, it also means we can still repurpose other parts of the mall!

      Could stop your “freaking” complaining? Try taking in a civil manner for once?

      1. Well color me flummoxed…… Nope…I NEVER saw furniture in that joint and yes, I was in there plenty of times over the years. I actually had a difficult time walking past the heavily painted women working in the cosmetics dept. when you immediately walked into the store. Oh and please refrain from telling me to be freaking civil. It’s just not in my DNA. As Foghorn Leghorn used to say: “That’s a joke, son”.

    2. Call 1911. Yonkers sold a wide variety of furniture from mattresses to reclining chairs. I have two leather recliners in my family room thst I purchased at Yonkers two years ago.

Comments are closed.