By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A local developer is offering to purchase the former Sears property at Wausau Center Mall for $700,000, according to city documents.
Wausau bought the Sears building in 2017 for $650,000 but has since struggled to fill the space. Micon, a family-owned theater company with three theaters in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, had originally planned a 10-screen complex for the building that would have required a roughly $10 million investment into the project. But those plans fell apart in 2017. The space has been used for storage in recent months.
The Feb. 28 purchase offer from Secure Fund LLC outlines terms of the offer but does not specify the potential use envisioned for the building. Under the terms of the proposal, Secure Fund would pay $5,000 in earnest money upon acceptance of the offer. The offer also asks for 9 percent tax increment funding payments on total project costs along with shared use of the city-owned parking ramp adjacent to the property.
In addition, the purchaser also proposes that, should the mall be razed in the future, the city would be responsible for refacing the shared wall between the property and the rest of the mall. Sears was one of three original anchor stores for the mall, but the store shuttered in August 2016.
Since the city’s 2017 purchase of the building, the property has essentially been off the city’s — and county’s — tax rolls. In 2016, the property was assessed at $4 million and generated $101,023.81 in property taxes. Of that, $38,698.07 went to the city of Wausau, according to the Marathon County Land Records system.
A search of state documents shows Secure Fund LLC is a Plover organization whose registered agent is Roland Lokre. In addition to the Sears proposal, Lokre is also proposing a $7.5 million apartment complex for the city’s west side.
The proposal calls for a 270-day due diligence period, during which Secure Fund could opt to terminate the agreement.
Economic Development Director Chris Schock did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
Members of the city’s economic development committee on Tuesday will discuss the proposal. A meeting is slated for 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, in council chambers at Wausau City Hall, 407 Grant Street.