Wausau's movie theater development moves forward

By:  Stephaine Buffamonte

Wausau residents are getting a look at where the new movie theater will fit into downtown Wausau Tuesday. The new plan shows Sears will be demolished and in place will be the movie theater and plaza.

Project planners hope by the end of next year, families can experience the movie theater. Wausau City Council approved the updated layout Tuesday night moving the development forward.

"As someone who lives and works by the downtown area, it's really exciting to know there's possibility of just going somewhere that's two minutes away instead of 15," Wausau Resident Carly Caputa said.

Development that's moving forward as Wausau City Council approves the layout, tearing down the Sears building and developing a theater and plaza. The city's Economic Development Director Chris Schock said this type of development is more common.

"I think all retail projects that you see built nowadays include outdoor plaza's they include, corridors, alleys," Schock said.

The theater will be separated from the mall, with the outdoor plaza. Executive Director of the Wausau River District Elizabeth Brodek believes this development will bring more visitors downtown.

"The right kind of foot traffic. It's people with disposable incomes who are here for entertainment," Brodek said. "Who are looking to enjoy our downtown and spend their money here."

Wausau Resident Chris Burger believes a movie theater was the right choice

"Going to the movies is going to be a thing of the past, with all the technology that people have now, with their own home TV's and home movie set-ups," Burger said.

Nonetheless, Burger is happy to see it moving forward

"I think it's cool that they're developing the downtown and the River District to try and bring more people in," Burger said.

Wausau's movie theater is a long time coming too. Two years ago, a market profile study from Wausau's River District showed that residents wanted a movie theater in the area. The next closest theater is in Rothschild.

The next step is a plan for demolition, which in this situation, must be a careful process because the building is right next to the mall. 

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