By Shereen Siewert

A proposed $20 million historic rehabilitation of the Landmark Apartments in downtown Wausau is one step closer to reality, after members of the city’s economic development and finance committees approved a request for $350,000 in funding for the project.

City staff has been working with Gorman & Co. for more than two years to facilitate new, affordable housing at the Landmark Apartments, 220 Scott St., in Wausau. Originally the Hotel Wausau, the building was erected in 1925 on the site of the former Hotel Bellis and was modeled after the Roberts Hotel in Muncie, Ind., with 257 rooms. In its heyday, the hotel boasted a two-story lobby, a ballroom, a coffee shop and a barber.

The $350,000 in funding could come from American Rescue Plan Act Local Fiscal Recovery funds.

During a June 1 meeting, Ted Matkom, General Counsel and Development manager for Gorman, said the first phase of the renovation would begin on the top three floors. Tenants living on those floors would be temporarily moved to “hotel units” on lower floors for about 45-60 days, then moved back into the renovated space.

“The goal is to upgrade the living conditions of the current tenants and to increase the number of affordable units within the facility,” said Wausau Finance Director MaryAnne Groat, during the meeting.

There are currently 105 units in the building, some of which are single-room units. Those are not legal in terms of apartment units, Matkom said, and will be turned into larger units for rent. The final 94 units range from 628-square foot units to 920-square foot units ranging from $412 per month to $935 per month.

In April, Gorman & Co. was selected for low income housing tax credits in a competitive process. The state and federal credits will be combined with a previously approved $900,000 loan from the Wausau Community Development Authority to help support the project.

Gorman is targeting renters who earn 60 percent of the county’s median income or below. For an individual, that would be about $25,000 to $30,000 per year, Matkom said Tuesday. For a family of four, the income limit would be about $40,000 to $50,000.

The property acquisition is expected to close in late June.

Funding sources for the Landmark Apartments renovation in Wausau. Source: City of Wausau documents