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City considers affordable housing, renovation for Ponderosa Motel

in News

By Shereen Siewert

City officials are reviewing a proposal from a property management group to purchase the former Ponderosa Motel in Wausau, a plan that would transform the property into modern efficiency apartments rented at $450 per month, including utilities.

Andrew R. Green and Keaton M. Schultz of the Schultz Real Estate and Property Management Group propose purchasing the property from the city of Wausau for $50,000, a deal that is contingent upon a final inspection of the property. If Wausau doesn’t allow the buyer to operate the building within the proposed use or requires extensive repairs to be completed to the point in which the proposal is not feasible, the buyer can rescind the offer to purchase, according to the terms of the agreement.

The proposal calls for a major exterior/interior and operational change, creating primarily an apartment complex with daily, weekly and monthly rentals.

An on-site manager, who will be expected to live in a renovated basement apartment, will oversee room check ins and move outs, as well as room cleaning and facility upkeep, the plan states. A total of 16 units will be available for rental when the renovation is complete.

The exterior siding will be replaced with a black modern vinyl and the lower stone accent will also be painted a matte black. Additional landscaping upgrades are also planned.

The Ponderosa sign face will be replaced with a “to be determined” re-branded business name. Inside, rooms will undergo a full remodel and facelift of the existing style and look including fully replacing all fixtures with new LED lighting, adding brand new furniture and revamping all bathrooms.

The new look for each room is expected to attract young professionals and “minimalist living individuals,” according to city documents.

An interior design for the proposed renovation of the former Ponderosa Motel in Wausau. (Source: City of Wausau documents, Dec. 9. 2019)

Marathon County took ownership of the motel, at 2101 Grand Ave., Wausau, in December in an effort to recover unpaid property taxes dating back to 2013. Property values at the motel had declined steadily since 1998 and plummeted in 2015 when a blaze ripped through the building, displacing about 30 long-term residents.

Officials said the Aug. 17, 2015 fire was caused by negligent use of burning materials, possibly a cigarette.

Unpaid property taxes at the site totaled more than $63,000 when the property changed hands. In addition, the county spent about $9,400 on environmental site assessments and other costs associated with the building, according to city documents.

The total value of the property in 1998 was $217,900, according to the Marathon County Land Records system; the value dropped to $150,000 in 2016.

Wausau’s Community Development Authority took ownership of the building in September.

The CDA will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 at City Hall, 407 Grant St., Wausau, to review the proposal.

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