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Cedar Creek Mall's new owners introduced, preliminary plans announced

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ROTHSCHILD, Wis. (WSAU) -- Changes are coming to the Cedar Creek Mall. The mall’s new owners, area dignitaries, and the Wausau Visitor and Convention Bureau talked about what lies ahead for the property, which has been mostly empty for the past few years. First, the Patriot Center will now be called the Central Wisconsin Convention & Expo Center.

CVB Executive Director Richard Barrett emceed the presentation, and was part of the team that kept the mall and convention center operating when the property went into receivership earlier this year.

Midland Management acquired the property, and CEO Ned Brickman knows the property needs to be updated and it needs more retailers.  “Well, we obviously are working on renderings and we’re working with the Village of Rothschild to make it happen, and we think a new, clean, fresh, updated look that can accentuate what’s already here will help bring in the other types of retailers and tenants into the shopping center that it needs.”

Brickman says they will work to bring in both shoppes, plus convention and expo business that will fit the community.  “This area is a very strong entertainment destination-type area with the convention center, when it gets to be where it will be, where it should be, and all of the hotels around here, and the movie theatre and so forth, I think that we can bring in others that can feed off of that and can compliment those type of uses that are already here.”

Brickman’s company has relationships with retailers and has the experience to bring in stores, but he admits the attached convention center would need someone experienced and on-site to run it.  “The only thing I knew is that we weren’t equipped to be the ones to run it, and so we told the Kreske’s and Steve Shenker that somebody had to come in and be the operator here, and fortunately we found the right person with Dale Elliott.”

Dale Elliott already operates Dale’s Weston Lanes in Weston. He says the convention center has something in common with his existing business, and that’s the need to treat people well in the service businesses. Yeah, that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about people. It’s all about how you treat people, how you take care of people. That’s what makes it successful.”

The renovated Cedar Creek Mall is expected to bring some jobs back to the facility, but Elliott says there are several businesses elsewhere in the community that benefit from a successful convention center.  “The catering business alone, you know, they’ll come with 15 or 20 people on a Saturday night or Friday night, or Thursday night, or Wednesday night. Not only that, it’s Dave Barnes from Total Rental, I mean, he’s got a bigger crew than I ever imagined anyone would ever have to do all of the setups and tear downs, and skirting, and all of the things that they need to do, so we may not be employing everybody ourself, but this whole building has the opportunity to employ a lot of people as it goes on.”

Midland Management is working on final plans for remodelling, which include changing the red and aqua colors, changing the entrance signs, parking lot repairs, and some general maintenance. They estimate the work will start next spring and cost around two-million dollars.

(Click on their names to listen to our interviews with Dale Elliott and Ned Brickman on our website.)

Midland Management handles the mall leasing, and can be contacted at 262-643-4430.

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