The Full Story
WAUSAU, WI - VY (Vee-Why) Properties, LLC co-owned by Wausau resident Joe Ellis of JEM Productions, is proposing to build a new, modern format 3500 capacity concert venue in downtown Wausau near Athletic Park.
The project will serve as a key component in the region’s long term strategic plan to attract and retain the next generation of residents and workforce. Further, the venue will help fill the demand for modern entertainment among the 1.8 million residents within one hundred miles of Wausau.
“The River will bring some of the biggest names in entertainment within feet of their fans, right here in Wausau. We are extremely excited to bring our industry knowledge and resources to this project”, Ellis said.
VY co-owner Anna Herman, adds, “A venue of this size and type fills a massive gap in the area’s ability to serve the large touring market which until now, has been drawing millions of dollars out of the Central Wisconsin area to be spent on entertainment in larger markets. We would like to see that money, and those fans, stay right here.”
The proposed 58,000 square foot facility includes up to 10,000 square feet of commercial retail and rental space, a 7,000 square foot lobby reception area and a multi level concert hall in a mostly standing room format with the exception of limited premium seating in the VIP balcony.
Ellis says, “We love Wausau, and the arts culture here is excellent, however it is absolutely critical that the area maintains relevance in the live entertainment segment by continuing to meet growing industry and consumer demand. At this very moment, larger markets are investing heavily into venues like ‘The River’ which motivates our residents, potential tourists, and the next generation to spend their time and money in cities with more entertainment options than Wausau currently has to offer.”
The facility aims to be a ‘value add’ to the community, by bringing millions in spending to area restaurants, hotels and retail, and by providing ample space for community activities such as Wausau Events’ “Concerts on the Square” to find refuge on rainy summer days.
In addition to live entertainment, the state of the art venue will allow Wausau to host large format corporate conferences, and will be home to additional retail and dining experiences on the riverfront. Herman also emphasizes their commitment to community support through charitable giving to area causes at 5 percent of profits annually.
“At the end of the day we want to see our local economy thrive, we want tourism to grow, and we want to see the strategic goals of the community met. This project is an essential component for the long term economic health of the region” Ellis said, “And I must say, this a REALLY fun way to accomplish that goal!”
The anticipated project will draw over 250,000 visitors to the area with a total economic impact of 53 Million annually.