By Shereen Siewert
Wausau could soon issue another request for proposals for the former Westside Battery and L&S Printing site, a city-owned parcel that sits along the west central riverfront.
Project plans for the property, at 415 S. First Ave., have twice been nixed since Wausau acquired the land. 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.
Wausau Economic Development Manager Sean Fitzgerald, in a memo to the Economic Development Committee, said staff conducted four showings at the property in recent months from parties interested in commercial development for the site.
“Those prospective developer parties have been advised the next step would be to submit a proposal to the city for the economic development committee and council to eventually consider,” Fitzgerald’s memo states.
The names of the parties have not been publicly disclosed.
Members of the Wausau City Council in January 2020 gave the nod to a proposal for The Dam Place, which would have served breakfast and lunch and offered catering services. City officials then approved transferring the property to the project planners for $1. The $1.5 million project never came to fruition and in June, in the midst of the pandemic and economic downturn, project planners withdrew from the development. The transaction was never completed.
City officials in October 2019 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 in the wake of a legal issue.
Members of the Economic Development Committee will discuss issuing an RFP during a meeting set for 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall, 407 Grant St., Wausau.