Downtown movie theater still on track to open in 2018

By:  Laura Schulte with the Wausau Daily Herald

A downtown Wausau movie theater is still on track to open in 2018, despite delays to demolition of the old Sears building.

Chris Schock, the city planning, community and economic development director, said that no one had realized that the former Sears building and the mall shared the same wall where the two connected — a discovery that delayed the demolition expected to happen earlier this year. 

"It was thought that there were separate walls that were adjacent," he said. 

The Sears building was vacated last year, one of many stores the retailer closed across the nation. Micon Cinemas was one of two choices the city council faced this spring as it considered a new tenant for the prominent downtown space; HOM Furniture was the other. 

Now, Mid-America Asset Management, which oversees Wausau Center, and Micon Cinemas, which will manage the 10-screen theater, have gone back to the drawing board to work out a new demolition plan. The two are splitting the costs of a structural engineer to assess the situation. 

In the meantime, a revised plan for the movie theater is being drawn up, Schock said, and the new plan will have to be approved by the city. 

"Everyone wants to see (the demolition) start as fast as possible," he said. "But the details have to be worked through." 

The theater is still expected to open in 2018, but the demolition won't begin until a development agreement has been reached by all parties involved. After the demolition, construction is expected to take 10 months.

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