By Shereen Siewert

Members of Wausau’s economic development committee on Tuesday unanimously rejected a proposal for high end apartments and a multi-tenant commercial building that brought sharp opposition from some neighborhood residents.

Aedfix Holdings, owned by Amherst-based Blenker Construction, sought approval to buy remnant parcels from the Thomas Street Phase II project for $1 to make way for more than 30 units of housing and a building that would be used for retail, commercial or office purposes. The 14 parcels are roughly valued at $126,000, based on a value of $9,000 per lot, city officials said.

Aedfix also asked the city to ensure that the sites were clear of environmental contamination and conduct at least a Phase I environmental study on the property, at city expense. The project would have generated about $186,000 in annual tax revenue for the city, officials said.

Citizen responses overwhelmingly opposed the project and many said they preferred single-family homes, in part to replace homes that were lost during the Thomas Street reconstruction project. Others were concerned about the density of the proposed project and the potential impact on an already congested Thomas Street.

After more than 45 minutes of discussion the committee voted to reject both proposals and direct the city’s Community Development staff to bring forward a plan for five or six single-family homes using their programs and funding opportunities to see what the economics look like for such a plan.

“I’d like to know what they can offer us,” said Dist. 7 Alder Lisa Rasmussen. “In the past we have taken sites like this…and we’ve put fresh housing on it but it’s a single home. I’d like to look at that approach for this, and have them bring a plan that they’ve created.”

Mayor Katie Rosenberg told the committee that Community Development has been discussing potential solutions, but sought direction from the committee to come up with a satisfactory plan.

Representatives from Community Development are expected to present ideas at the October Economic Development meeting.