By Shereen Siewert
Two developers interested in developing city-owned property along Wausau’s northeast riverfront will add additional information and renderings to their proposals before any decision is made on moving forward.
Wausau’s Economic Development Committee on Tuesday had a first look at the projects, which involve lots directly south of the Wausau on the Water building and north of Stinchfield Creek. Committee members reviewed an $8 million proposal from local developers that relies on $688,000 in taxpayer-funded incentives and a $24.9 million project from an out-of-area developer that carries a roughly $2.5 million price tag in tax increment financing.
The local group that developed The Apartments at Riverlife is proposing the smaller of the two proposals, a three-story, mixed-use building that would use one lot in its entirety and a portion of a second lot. Riverlife Wausau, LLC, a local development partnership between Bob Ohde Construction, Mitch Viegut and Dr. Fernando Riveron, assumed control of the Riverlife Villages Phase I project in April 2019 after a series of city partnerships with other groups failed to materialize. The complex opened in the fall, and and a plan to build 20-24 condos with an amphitheater for live musical performances directly at the water’s edge is also moving forward..
RiverlifeWausau LLC proposes a single facility that includes 39 market-rate apartments, 39 underground parking spaces and a portion of first-floor, multi-tenant commercial space. The group proposes buying the land from the city for $165,000 while receiving $688,000 in TIF funding to assist with the complex environmental issues working with the land. Mitch Viegut told the committee the group deliberately chose a smaller number of apartments to preserve the unique public space represented by the riverfront and avoid overbuilding apartment spaces in the community.
The second proposal was presented by Middleton-based T. Wall Enterprises, which involves buying all three lots for $400,000 to build three four-story buildings. The larger-scale project would feature 123 market-rate apartments with 82 underground parking spaces and about 2,300 square feet of first-floor commercial space per building, according to the proposal in the city packet. The two-phase project would begin with two buildings in spring of 2022 with a third building, just off of River Drive, being built the following year. The construction value of the larger project would generate estimated annual property taxes of $580,000 based on the 2020 tax rate, according to city documents.
The committee opted to hold off on making any decision without additional information, public input and ideas from the developers interested in the property. Both developers agreed to have renderings ready for an April 22 meeting.