By Jacob Mathias
Two buildings, both over 100 years old, will soon be demolished to make way for future development near the downtown area.
The salvage and demolition of the two buildings was approved by the city’s Finance and Property Committee at its meeting on November 10. The two
aging buildings are the Spath building, built around 1880, located at 195 2nd St. and the USDA building, built around 1898, at 360 1st St. Both building sit near the Wood County Courthouse.
A salvager has not yet been chosen and the city is seeking qualified applicants.
The buildings were purchased early in the year as part of the city’s redevelopment plan. The city purchased the Spath building for $175,000 and the USDA for $150,000.
Planning and Economic Development Director Adam Tegen said it was not expected the buildings could be utilized in their current state as they’d been underused in the past.
“We went into it with the expectation that demolition was most likely the route we were going to go,” said Tegen.
The cost of salvage and demolition services is estimated at $76,292.
Tegen said a new development is not yet planned for the vacant lots but a multi-story, mixed use building with commercial and residential space would be desireable.
“Until the city is aware of what it can acquire and what it cannot…I can’t say if that portion will be used for parking or building,” said Tegen.
Salvage should begin soon with demolition beginning at the beginning of the year. Once completed, the area will be restored and covered with gravel until development begins.
“It fits into the redevelopment plan better to be looking at preparing it as a clean site,” said Tegen.
There is a minor amount of asbestos in the USDA building which city staff is trained to remove. Some bricks on the Spath building have lead paint which will be placed in a landfill. Tegen said any buildings of this age would require remediation of the hazardous materials.
The salvage and demolition next go to the Common Council for final approval. The Wisconsin Rapids Common Council meets on November 17 at 6:00 PM in the council chambers at City Hall.