By Shereen Siewert

Members of the Wausau City Council on Tuesday formally approved a $1.5 million proposal by the owners of the Sixth Street Filling Station to create a new restaurant at the former Westside Battery and L&S Printing site.

The project involves two parcels of property at 415 S. First Ave., both which are owned by the city. City leaders in September 2016 purchased the Westside Battery property for $200,000 using a loan made by the Judd S. Alexander Foundation. The adjoining parcel, the former home of L&S Printing, was sold to the city in 2014 for $190,000, also with a loan from the Judd S. Alexander Foundation.

It is not yet clear if Wausau has since paid off those debts.

The co-owners of Sixth Street Filling Station, Jaime Kroening and Lee Martino, are planning a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch as well as offering catering services. The Dam Place, named for the proximity to the Wisconsin Public Service dam, would employ 10 full-time and 15 part-time employees.

A “grab and go” concept would also be included, according to the duo’s proposal. They also aim to expand their current Sunday brunch concept at the Sixth Street Filling Station into a seafood buffet on Fridays and prime rib buffet on Saturdays, the proposal states.

City officials in October scuttled a prior plan for the properties by Clint Schulz, who withdrew his plan to create a  99-seat Urban Street Bistro restaurant more than two years after his initial proposal was approved. Then valued at about $600,000, the project asked for a $100,000 commercial loan and a $150,000 MCDEVCO commercial equipment loan, while purchasing the property from the city for $225,000.

Schulz backed away from the project after a September Wausau Pilot and Review report that revealed Schulz was caught months earlier shoplifting about $429 worth of food, supplies and electronics from a Rib Mountain business.

On Tuesday, city officials approved transferring the property to Kroening and Martino for $1.

Previously the duo had asked for 10 percent of tax increment financing, but later dropped that request. The duo also is working with The Samuels Group on project plans.