Old building could get second chance
A west side Merrill building may be saved from demolition by a developer who has approached the city of Merrill.
The old vocational school building at 419 W. Main St. was sold by the city last year for $1 to C&D Excavating. Conditions of the sale included demolition of the existing building and redevelopment of the lot. C&D also got the adjacent vacant lot at 413 W. Main St. in the deal.
The city has now been approached by another developer who is interested in saving the tech school building, and has indicated a willingness to invest about $1.7 million into rehabilitating the property.
Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson said the city won’t be offering any TID funds or development incentives for the project.
“Because we don’t believe it will cash flow, we won’t put TIF money into it,” he said.
The first phase of the potential project would include engineering structural analysis and roof replacement.
“It’s a big, well-built shell with a leaky roof,” Johnson said.
The entire project, which would reportedly create residential, retail and art gallery space, is expected to take about five years.
C&D had agreed to demolish the building by June 1. However, with the harsh winter and now the appearance of a new potential developer, demolition plans have been suspended.
The city would have to reverse the agreement with C&D, and then work out a new agreement with the potential developer.
The Merrill Redevelopment Authority discussed the issue in closed session Tuesday and the city’s Common Council will do the same as a Committee of the Whole next Tuesday.