Damakant Jayshi

Wausau’s Economic Development Committee on Tuesday approved a third amendment revising the timeline to the Riverlife Condos project, after the project missed its deadlines.

A special meeting of the committee made its decision in a closed session and announced it publicly after reconvening. According to the revised timeline, the closing date for the transfer of the property to the developer, Riverlife Condos LLC, will now be Nov. 1. The commencement date is April 1, 2023 and the completion is set for May 1, 2024.

The original agreement had May 1, 2021 as a closing deadline. The commencement and the project completion dates were May 31, 2021 June 30 this year, respectively.

The high-end condos are being constructed by Riverlife Wausau LLC, the same group that constructed the Riverlife Villages Phase I development on the city’s east riverfront. The condo project is set for a parcel just south of the recently-completed apartment complex and included $485,0000 in tax increment financing to defray the cost of DNR cap management and cleanup, geopiers and groundwater or flood mitigation. In September 2021, Wausau Pilot & Review reported the project was stalled for 18 months after a water main discovery forced significant changes to the plan.

Alder Lisa Rasmussen said she hoped that this would be the last amendment and the project would be completed by the revised schedule.

The item was pulled from the agenda of the committee meeting on Aug. 2 after Community Development Director Liz Brodek said the department hadn’t received a draft of the amendment from the developer and committee members would not have enough time to review the draft.

In a memo to the Economic Development Committee, Brodek wrote that one row of condos will be eliminated with the number of condos now totaling 26 units, instead of the earlier proposed 32. She said this would add to the available open green space in the area. There are no other substantive changes to the project agreement, Brodek added.

Riverlife Wausau, LLC, is a local development partnership between Bob Ohde Construction, Mitch Viegut and Dr. Fernando Riveron.

According to the meeting packet, the Economic Development Committee was also going to discuss the Foundry on 3rd Development agreement between the city and developer T. Wall Enterprises in closed session on Tuesday though members remained silent on announcing any decision. When the committee reconvened, it only announced its endorsement of the amendment to the Riverlife Condos agreement.

The Foundry on 3rd is a $44 million project on the former Wausau Center mall site that will include some form of taxpayer-funded incentives yet to be announced. Wausau Opportunity Zone, which owns the site, selected developer T. Wall Enterprises for the project. Neither Brodek nor the developers have heeded requests from media and some city alders to provide more concrete financial details about the proposal.

The project’s financial cost to the city’s taxpayers, expected in millions of dollars, is still unknown, leading some alders to express ongoing concern and questioning whether those supporting the project fully understood the financial implications to taxpayers. The meeting packet did not have any additional details by press time.

This project proposes to add 154 units to the city’s inventory as a mix of affordable and high-end housing,. Not all would be earmarked for low-income residents, which was the intent of the Opportunity Zone tax law that formed the basis of the property purchase.