Former Merrill DNR building to become brewery - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Former Merrill DNR building to become brewery

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MERRILL (WAOW) -- Some investors want to convert the former Department of Natural Resources station in Merrill into a new place to have a beer, according to the city's administrator.

The old DNR station hasn't had much use for several years after Merrill acquired it from the state.

The city has opened bids for the building twice. The first time, no acceptable offers came in.

David Johnson, the Merrill city administrator says this year, they received two bids. "One to turn [the former DNR building] into a brew pub and other to turn it into a private residence."

The brew pub won the bid, offering more than $50,000.

Johnson says in a 2012 city-wide survey, locals expressed interest in a Merrill micro brewery.

City officials say the winning bid came from investors who wish to remain anonymous.

The investors formed a Merrill company called White Pine Enterprises LLC.

"To our knowledge, the person running this is a life long resident of Merrill," Johnson explained.

The city administrator says, the former ranger station is a historical building and the new owners must follow certain rules when renovating it. Garage doors must be removed but the exterior of the building cannot be dramatically altered.

The administrator says, the investors' plans include opening a tap house and later adding on a brewery.

Johnson says he hopes this new business will be the micro-brewery locals have been asking for.

"It's good for the city to have this kind of venue," explained Johnson. "It attracts people, it's a place for locals to go. I say it's nothing but a plus for the city."

The anonymous buyers have one year to open the tap house. If the business isn't open by then, Johnson says the city of Merrill will take back the property.

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