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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Old bank,   p. 220

Page 220

Fig. 1. The old Bank at Park andUniversity
Avenue, 1995.81 by 106 feet, four stories
and a full basement builtofconcrete, with
decorative stonework on the street facades.
The one story addition faced with lannon stone
was added in 1962. [Author Photo, AP- 14]
~e property at the comer of University Avenue and Park Street was developed by the First
 Central Company in 1928. They built a commercial building for $200,000 (designed by local
Tarchitect Frank Riley and built by contractor J. H. Findorff) on the site and leased it to the
University Avenue National Bank who appeared at 905 University Avenue in 1929. This bank was in
business at that location for less than two years. By 1931 the building was the home of the First Wis-
consin National Bank who stayed at 905 University Avenue for more than fifty years. The bank used
only a relatively small part of the three story building and rented the rest of the space to a succession
of local businesses and to the University. 1
In 1977 the bank moved their operation out of the building and placed the building on the
market. On June 15, 1977 the First Wisconsin National bank sold the building to the University of
Wisconsin Foundation for $680,000. The Foundation makes a practice of acquiring real estate in the
campus area to preserve its availability to the University. The foundation continued to lease the
building to the University. In 1984 the foundation who, at the request of the University, had purchased
the building very quickly to prevent a commercial deal-in-progress wished to extract its investment
from the building and offered to sell the building to the University for the approximate assessed value
of $ 1.1 million. The University accepted this offer but the state building commission objected to the
deal on legal grounds and the state legislature finally passed a law in the 1985-1987 biennial session
that allowed the University to buy the building. The regents accepted the deed at their November 1985
meeting. They would pay the $1.1 million purchase price in monthly installments of $20,656 for six
years. At the time of purchase the building was about 85 per cent occupied by University programs
(the UW system, the UW law school, and academic counselling). The remainder of the space was held
by private businesses.
The building is now occupied principally by the McBumey Center, and an assortment of
counseling services. It may eventually be removed for expansion of Grainger Hall.
1) Madison city directories, State Historical society library; Dane county register of deeds.
2) Regent's Minutes, February 8, 1985, November 8, 1985. Laws of Wisconsin, 1985-1987, Act 29 section 8.

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