Wausau decides on the mall redevelopment amendment tonight, but an agreement with WOZ is still being worked on
Meanwhile, the developer threatens to sue council members, and Kilian releases records he's providing to Wall
Tonight, members of the city council will decide whether or not to approve an amendment with Wausau Opportunity Zone Inc and T. Wall Enterprises around the first apartment development in the former Wausau Center mall site.
That comes on the backdrop of the developer now threatening to sue city council members who oppose him, and one council member releasing records of his conversations around the mall project (which mostly show support for his stance).
Wausau Opportunity Zone, a for-profit company formed by area non-profits to support the redevelopment of the mall area, tore down the Wausau Center mall in 2021. It’s been an empty site since, to the frustration of many area residents.
T. Wall Enterprises was supposed to have built a new apartment building on the site, and that work should be well underway by now. Under the former development agreement, the 150-unit apartment building should be wrapping up this year. (A second phase similar to the first is planned.)
Instead, T. Wall Enterprises struggled to find enough investment to keep up with rising costs, and had to delay. T. Wall’s owner, Terrence Wall, in an open letter calling for the resignation of two council members who opposed his efforts, said the completion date spelled out in a development agreement with the city was “a guess” and that also, it’s actually the city that’s causing the delay. (Council members also questioned why there was a delay in voting on the amendment for the delay.)
Wausau Opportunity Zone in arguing for the delay last month, said they and T. Wall would be paying for any delays that occurred. The city council delayed voting on the delay, instead directing staff to work out a new agreement with WOZ and T. Wall. Essentially, they were told to get those promises in writing.
So far it appears that hasn’t been finalized.
As of late Tuesday morning, no agreement between the city and WOZ — which is a stipulation of the city’s agreement with T. Wall — has been included in the packet of materials given to council members ahead of the meeting.
City insiders tell The Wausonian that’s because details of the agreement are still being worked out with WOZ, and that they will be sent to council members as soon as they’re ready.
The development agreement with T. Wall does include a requirement that the developer must cause “Wausau Opportunity Zone, Inc., a Wisconsin corporation, to execute and deliver to the City a Cooperation Agreement with the City substantially in the form attached hereto as Exhibit A.”
It appears council members won’t see that agreement or have much time to consider it ahead of Tuesday’s council meeting. As of late Tuesday morning, it had not yet been added to the packet.
Meanwhile, Terrence Wall went on Meg Ellefson’s podcast last week and spent the early part of the podcast bashing Madison, where he lives (technically Middleton) as well as highlighting problems he’s had in other communities (as well as others that rolled out the red carpet for them). He did say positive things about Wausau itself, saying he considered building a cabin here.
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