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City edges forward with one riverfront proposal, hesitates on another

in News

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Officials are nearing an agreement to move forward with one planned riverfront development but is reluctant to partner on a proposal for luxury condos south of Riverlife Villages, according to Wausau City Council President Lisa Rasmussen.

Members of the economic development committee in November chose Gorman & Company to resume construction on the stalled Riverlife Villages project. The company, which is headquartered in Oregon, Wis., was chosen in favor of Riverlife Wausau, LLC, a local development partnership between Bob Ohde Construction, Mitch Viegut and Dr. Fernando Riveron.

The committee’s decision is subject to final council approval and is tied into a potential settlement to satisfy about $3 million in liens associated with the development. Rasmussen said those details should be finalized in early January and construction could resume on the stalled project this spring.

“Gorman was selected in the ED committee, but the council action to approve a development agreement with them and settle the liens should happen simultaneously as the legal work is completed since the one is contingent upon the other,” Rasmussen said, in an email to Wausau Pilot and Review. “The council will have at least one more vote to do yet once the legal paperwork is done.”

Gorman & Company’s application, dated Sept. 25, outlines a plan to purchase the 1.8 acre property from the city for $1 to build the 38,000-square-foot building for both apartments and commercial use. The company anticipates using $1.3 million in equity and $5.7 million in loans to complete the roughly $7 million project.

But a revised proposal by Dave Johnson of Wausau for 12 high end condos adjacent to the current Riverlife Villages property is not ready to move forward. In closed session, committee members on Dec. 4 discussed Johnson’s request for $1 million in city assistance, which would have come in the form of tax increment financing funds.

Though a decision on Johnson’s proposal was not publicly announced following closed session and is not reflected in the minutes for the Dec. 4 meeting, Rasmussen on Thursday said the committee likes the concept but sees the dollars associated with the project as a roadblock.

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