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UER Forum > Journal Index > Aran's Research Reports > Location: Sav-O Supply, Wausau WI (Viewed 326 times)
Location: Sav-O Supply, Wausau WI
entry by Aran 
3/2/2018 3:51 PM

The Sav-O Supply warehouse is a squat, two story structure in Wausau, Wisconsin. A landmark building in the Wausau area, this building has a rich history dating back to nearly a century. This building also served as my first exploration, and I returned here several times over the course of three years.

According to the Marathon County Historical Society, the building was constructed in either 1920 or 1923 (sources are divided on the exact year) as the new Marathon Shoe Company East Side Plant (Wisconsin Historical Society).

The Marathon Shoe Company rose in prominence to become the fifth largest business in Wausau, producing name brands that were well recognized for their quality at the time such as Pied Piper children’s shoes (O’Keeffe). The Marathon Shoe Company continued to grow, opening two more factories in the nearby towns of Tomahawk and Merrill. However, the company’s assets were suddenly liquidated in 1928, and the Sav-O building itself was bought by the city of Wausau (PVN).

At some point during history the city sold the building to Badger Bag and Paper Manufacture, a company which used the building to house its paper bag factory. At some point the building changed hands again, this time reopening as Sav-O Supply, a store which sold home improvement supplies. However, Sav-O Supply eventually went out of business, and the building once more fell into the hands of the city in 2012 (Dohr).

Abandoned for roughly six years, the structure endured large amounts of decay due to its proximity to the heart of Wausau. Located at 1418 North First Street, it was just down the road from the downtown area. The warehouse sat on a parcel of land about fifty yards from the river, with a disused railroad track running between the two. This area was the most decrepit part of Wausau, sporting a number of abandoned buildings.

Surrounding the Sav-O warehouse was an abandoned house, a shuttered garage or storage building or some kind, an old storage shed, and a large concrete foundation that was overgrown with weeds. The area surrounding it was not much better. Dueling taggers made their mark all over the place, and often covered up each others tags with their own.

In August 2015, a small fire started on a back portion of the building. This fire was declared arson by the fire inspector, heavily in part due to the fact that all utilities had been disconnected for three years at that time, ruling out an electrical fire or gas leak (Neupert). Though the fire did little damage, it still prompted the city to keep a closer eye on the location.

In 2014, the city of Wausau first began considering redevelopment plans (Dohr). Though it took about two years of proposals, negotiation, and bidding, the city finally awarded the contract for redevelopment to MetroPlains, a Minnesota based development company.

In late 2017, construction began on the building with the intent to renovate it into an income adjusted apartment complex. The renovation of the Sav-O building was part of a strategy of aggressive redevelopment adopted by city officials, specifically the portion of the strategy which included buying seventeen acres of underdeveloped riverfront property in an attempt to spur economic growth. The newly christened Badger Lofts is set to open sometime in early 2018 (Hertel).

This building was added to the State Register of Historic Places on December 2nd 2016 and the National Register of Historic Places on January 12 2017 (O’Keeffe).

UER Database Entry:

Photography thread Aran 2017:

Example of redevelopment proposal: http://www.wausaud...uments/SavoRFP.pdf

Sources Cited

Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory. “Marathon Shoe Company East Side Plant.” Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. Reference number 50487. Web. 01 March 2018.

“Marathon Shoe Company Part 2: The Shoe Industry in Wausau, Wisconsin.” PVNworks, PVN, 28 March 2017. Web. 01 March 2018.

Dohr, Bob. “Proposal Would Turn Sav-O Building into Apartments.” Wausau Daily Herald, Daily Herald Media, 27 Aug. 2014. Web. 01 March 2018.

Neupert, Raymond. “Officials Seek Your Help in Sav- O Arson Investigation.” Rock 94.7, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 01 March 2018.

Hertel, Nora G. “Sav-O Supply on Track to Become Atrium Lofts.” Wausau Daily Herald, Daily Herald Media, 21 Nov. 2016. Web. 01 March 2018.

O'Keeffe, Kara. “The Marathon Shoe Company East Side Plant Listed in National Register of Historic Places.” Wisconsin History, Wisconsin Historical Society, 21 Mar. 2017.

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UER Forum > Journal Index > Aran's Research Reports > Location: Sav-O Supply, Wausau WI (Viewed 326 times)

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