City of Menasha Buys Brin Building from Owners for $1

Local News

What was once documented as the largest commercial building in Menasha 90 years ago has been sold to the city of Menahsa and the price tag may surprise you.

An August fire caused businesses within the historical site to be ruled a total loss.

Computer guru Matt Hodgins worked from home for about a month after his business Bits and Bytes was destroyed in the Brin building fire.

Now he works from this little shop that’s connected to the Brin.

“Having my customers be able to go to generally the same place and find me has been a lot more convenient,” says Hodgins. “It’s been easier for them and I think it’s one of the things that helped me stay in business.”

The city may have other plans for the building.

“We’re looking at two to three stories, probably commercial on the first floor residential above it,” says Menasha mayor Don Merkes. “Could be taller, it could be different, but that’s what the plan says right now.”

They’ve budgeted $250,000 for demolition of what’s left after the fire and don’t have specific businesses lined up for the new space that will be built.

But you might say they got a great bargain, the cost: one dollar.

“We were already looking at this corridor and how to make this a better part of our downtown,” says Merkes. “Then tragically the fire struck and it changed the plans a little bit so we looked at what was the best way we could help frame this property to be developed in such a way that would fit well with the master plan and how we could also help the current owner out of a bad situation.”

For now Hodgins is hoping for the best and plans to stay in this space until the city says otherwise.

He’s planning to play things by ear if her has to ship out.

“Hopefully I’ll have at least a couple weeks to try to find somewhere else to move the business to,” he says. “And then start the advertising campaign to let everyone know where I am and then just figure that out.”

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