By Shereen Siewert
Three local business owners are seeking a $350,000 commercial renovation loan to transform a portion of the Wausau Chemical site into a business incubator that would house a co-packing cannery, winery, kitchen, 300-person indoor/outdoor event venue and food truck stalls with outdoor seating.
The $1.5 million proposal for Wausau Barrel House and Cannery will be reviewed Thursday evening by members of the city’s Economic Development Committee. Dan and Kimm Weber, owners of Timekeeper Distillery in Wausau, and Lyn Kearns, president of Mosinee Brewing Company, say the proposal is a unique opportunity for the community and a way to fill the growing needs and demands of their current businesses.
“Our research shows that there is a need for these services and amenities is this community along with a need for event space that can affordably host, weddings, meetings, concerts, expos, indoor markets,” the group’s proposal reads.
The group’s proposal calls for purchasing soon-to-be empty Wausau Chemical container cleaning property at 180 E. Wausau Ave. for $40,000, an amount that is $2,500 more than the current $37,500 assessed value.
“After speaking with developers the current building would be difficult for any one business to occupy as the square footage and overhead would be difficult to afford,” the group’s proposal states. “Any residential purpose would most likely need the building demolished to start with a fresh foundation, and they would most likely ask that the city incurs this cost before they begin.”
WHBC would then repurpose, rather then demolish, the existing structure. The commercial renovation loan from the city would be used for utilities and infrastructure costs such as electrical, plumbing, fire suppression and HVAC, according to the proposal.
Kearn and her partner opened Mosinee Brewing Co., 401 Fourth St., Mosinee, in November 2018. Timekeeper Distillery, 720 Grant St., Wausau, opened the same year. Both businesses underwent extensive renovation to their current spaces before opening.
Wausau’s Economic Development Committee meets at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. The proposal is slated for discussion in both open and closed session.