YWCA building being “auctioned” (but not really)

(First published in the August 16, 2018 issue of City Pages)


YWCA building is for sale, but not necessarily the way it’s being marketed by one company

News started circulating last week about the YWCA building in Wausau being auctioned next month, which came as a shock to a few people.

Those people include YWCA Executive Director Andrea Huggenvik. Huggenvik says the YWCA is working with RealtyHive to market the property, but didn’t expect it to be listed as an auction. And it won’t exactly work like an auction, Huggenvik says.

The historic building at 613 Fifth Street is listed on RealtyHive to go to online auction on Sept. 26 from 10 am-4 pm. The list price is set at $499,000, according to the site, and the suggested opening bid is $299,000. Pre-auction offers are also accepted.

But it’s not exactly an auction, Huggenvik says. All the bids will go to the real estate agent and then to the YWCA for its board to consider. The board is under no obligation to take the highest bid, or any of the bids for that matter.

The YWCA last year requested proposals for the building with the help of the city of Wausau, but none of the two bids worked out. One of those proposals was to locate the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum there. That idea fell through when it was discovered the building’s structure wouldn’t support any large, heavy exhibits without major renovation work.

Anyone alarmed about the building going to auction should rest assured, Huggenvik says. “We’re not more desperate than we have been in the past, and we’re financially in a better place than we were in quite some time,” Huggenvik says. “They way they (RealtyHive) do their marketing is kind of misleading.”