By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — Members of the Wausau City Council on Tuesday approved a plan to restart the stalled Riverlife project by satisfying more than $2.7 million in unpaid bills and officially selecting a new developer.
According to city documents, city officials negotiated with The Samuels Group and other existing contractors and will cure the defaults under new terms approved during their May 28 meeting. Construction on the project will restart by June 30.
City documents state the $2,740,000 being repaid is an eligible expense under tax increment financing law and falls under “incentives” approved in July 2016 to support the project, which stalled more than a year ago. Officials say satisfying the outstanding liens is necessary for the project to resume.
The newly approved term sheet officially awards the project to Riverlife Wausau LLC, a group formed by Bob Ohde, Mitch Viegut and Dr. Fernando Riveron. The group is expected to complete the Phase 1 building in “substantial conformation with state-approved plans authored by Mudrovich and Associates” with a minimum value of $7 million. The city will lease the Phase 1 project site to the developer to restart the project but will sell the land for $1 at the closing of primary financing or when the project is complete.
City officials initially gave the nod to an Oregon, Wis.-based firm, but a development agreement never materialized.
The city will waive all building permit fees associated with the existing Phase 1 project, complete and maintain the extension of Fulton Street and public utilities, and will provide “49% of available full increment as a reverse TIF payment for two years” — up to $100,000, according to the term sheet.
Phase 1 of the project would be complete no later than Dec. 31, 2020.
The city will also reserve land south of the project area for a second phase of the project, subject to council approval, at a later date. Phase 2 of the project, if approved, would begin later and is expected to include either residential or commercial units with a value of at least $14 million.
See the full proposal beginning on p. 120 of the council packet, available here.