City reconsiders proposal for downtown theater in Wausau Center mall space

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Laura Schulte, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The proposal for a downtown movie theater isn't quite dead yet. 

The city's Economic Development Committee on Thursday night voted to bring forward a new proposal for a downtown theater in the old Sears building, attached to the Wausau Center mall. 

The original agreement for the theater fell through earlier this fall, after the mall owner, Rialto, and Micon Cinemas couldn't reach an agreement over a shared wall between the mall and the Sears building. 

In the original proposal, Micon would have purchased the Sears space for $800,000. The company would have demolished the existing building and built a new 10-theater cinema, attached to the mall by a breezeway. The project would have also allowed for new retail and restaurant space. The proposal was expected to bring in about $3 million to $5 million a year in revenue and employ 75 people. 

Micon Cinemas plans to work with Hoeft Builders to create 10 theaters and additional retail space. (Photo: Courtesy of the city of Wausau)

The city decided to revisit the theater idea because of a high level of community interest in having a theater downtown, said Christian Schock, Wausau's economic development director. In the new proposal, Micon and the mall would be working with a different, local contracting company. 

If the proposal is passed, the sale of the building and demolition would likely occur in the early months of 2018, and construction would begin in the spring. The theater would then open in early 2019. 

The committee requested that the parties involved with the theater present the new proposal as soon as possible. 

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