Wausau renovates housing projects through WHEDA grants - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau renovates housing projects through WHEDA grants

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Wausau city leaders have been taking a couple different approaches to renovating downtown and improving housing conditions. With each way, they take advantage of resources they already have and make them better than before.

Workers are chugging away at the Trolley Quarter Flats apartment complex. It's a project based on using what's there and building on it.

"It's a brand new unit that has significant amenities like common spaces and is highly energy efficient," said Shreedhar Ranabhat, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) assistant manager of multi-family housing. "It's going to be a class A apartment."

With openings for people from many different walks of life, project leaders say its a reflection of the city.

"It mirrors the demographics of the community," said Rob McCready, co-president of MetroPlains, the company that's doing the developing. "Within most apartment buildings around Wausau, there is a range of household sizes and there is a range of incomes."

This isn't the first time MetroPlains will be doing work in Wausau. They will also transform the downtown Federal Building into smaller housing units, a project that could get off the ground as early as November. Since the city can't legally sell the property, MetroPlains must lease it.

"Within that 50 year time period, we'll operate the building and then it'll become property of the city once again," said McCready.

Other WHEDA projects across the city involve renovating already-existing apartments, like the Kannenberg Plaza, that houses the elderly and people with disabilities. Plans call for outside improvements like more parking. People living inside have started to see upgrades, like new kitchen appliances and curtains instead of closet doors. A similar project has started at Riverview Towers, just south of downtown Wausau.

"You don't have to build from the ground up," said Ranabhat. "There's already a structure so sometimes it can be cost effective as well."

City leaders received state money for these four projects. Ranabhat said based on population, Wausau ranks highest in the state in terms of projects completed and in the works through their program.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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