Proposals sought for Wausau's old federal building - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Proposals sought for Wausau's old federal building

by Meg Bonacorsi

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Wausau bought the former downtown federal building over five years ago.  It's been empty the whole time, but that could change in a few months.

Once a bustling hub for federal offices, these rooms simply collect dust now.

City leaders say that's a waste.

Community Development Director Ann Werth says, "Overall it's been a fixture in our downtown. It's part of our history."

That's why city leaders are working on a plan to spark interest in the property.

Werth says, "We are looking right now to put out a request for proposals throughout the country for somebody that would interested in partnering with the city of Wausau to bring some new life into the building and new uses."

There will be an open house here in may and they city will advertise nationally starting in June. Leaders hope to find a developer or investor willing to come up with the millions of dollars it's going to take to fix up the site.

Mayor Jim Tipple says, "It's an empty vacant building and that doesn't sell the downtown. We've put a lot of improvements downtown, $150 million dollars and this is just one other step."

Of course city leaders don't just want to refurbish this place, they want it to thrive.

Tipple says, "A mixed use building would probably be the most attractive where you have a lot of things going on where one creates energy for the other."

Ultimately, city leaders are letting those interested in leasing the space come to them with plans of their own.

Werth says, "We're wide open on all the possibilities and opportunities that this building brings us."

There has been interest in the building before but nothing ever panned out.

City leaders are hoping to find a truly great use for it.

They can't sell the building because it's on the National Register of Historic Places.

Online Reporter: Meg Bonacorsi

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