Associated Bank plans Wisconsin Avenue branch

Will relocate branch from Kilbourn Avenue

A rendering of the planned Associated Bank branch on Wisconsin Avenue. (Rinka Chung Architecture)

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:57 pm

Associated Banc-Corp’s new downtown Milwaukee Associated Bank branch will be located in the office building at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave.

A rendering of the planned Associated Bank branch on Wisconsin Avenue. (Rinka Chung Architecture)
A rendering of the planned Associated Bank branch on Wisconsin Avenue. (Rinka Chung Architecture)

The Green Bay-based banking company has leased space in the building from Fulcrum 250 East LLC for 10 years and plans to spend at least $1.3 million to put in a drive-thru lane and signage, according to city records.

Associated spokesperson Cindy Lorentzen confirmed the lease has been finalized for a 2,100-square-foot space at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave.

Associated has applied to the Milwaukee Board of Zoning Appeals to occupy a portion of the premises as a drive-thru facility because it does not meet the minimum queue lane length, according to the documents. Associated Bank also is requesting approval to erect a sign attached to a non-opaque surface at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave.

The Board of Zoning Appeals will review Associated Banc-Corp’s variance requests at its May 4 meeting. The branch is expected to open at an unspecified date this fall.

Rinka Chung Architecture Inc. is the architect on the project and Poblocki Sign Co. LLC is the sign contractor.

Associated Banc-Corp’s lease at 401 E. Kilbourn Ave. downtown was not renewed and the company announced it would relocate that branch to new leased space.

associated bank wisconsin ave branch
A rendering of the interior of the Associated Bank branch planned at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave. (Rinka Chung Architecture)

Last month, Hartland-based Town bank announced it would open a branch in the 4,000-square-foot retail space at 401 E. Kilbourn Ave.

Lorentzen said all the employees from the Associated Bank branch at 401 E. Kilbourn Ave. will relocate to the Wisconsin Avenue branch once it opens. The branch will have “unique” digital exterior signage, she said.

In 2015, Chicago-based real estate firms Fulcrum Asset Advisors and Millbrook Properties acquired the 20-story office tower at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave. for $9.75 million. The entire building has been recently renovated, Lorentzen said. According to the documents, Fulcrum Asset Advisors and Millbrook Properties have invested $8.8 million in restoring the building. New tenants include the Milwaukee-area office of commercial real estate firm JLL, which moved there in 2016 from Brookfield.

“Wisconsin Avenue has had an unfortunate history of hosting many empty storefronts,” according to a letter from 250 E. Wisconsin Ave. submitted to BOZA as part of the filing. “We have a client who is looking to fill a prominent space on Wisconsin Avenue and Broadway, a space which will be directly on the new Milwaukee streetcar route. By filling this retail space with a prominent, Wisconsin-based company, we are showing our residents progress.”

The letter also indicates the proposed signage is similar to what will be used at the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena, currently under construction downtown.

“I’m pleased and excited to confirm that Associated Bank will open a retail branch on the first floor of the Two-Fifty office tower in early fall of 2017,” said Marnie Noel, vice president at JLL.  “The new retail bank location will activate the corner of Broadway and Wisconsin Avenue in the heart of the (commercial business district).”

In 2014, Associated Bank opened a new 3,000-square-foot branch at 1301 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., just north of the Park East corridor downtown. In 2015, Associated Bank opened a branch in the city’s Historic Third Ward neighborhood, just south of downtown, at 102 N. Water St.

Earlier this week, Associated Banc-Corp reported a first-quarter profit of $56.3 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, up 32 percent from $42.5 million, or 27 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2016.

At the end of the first quarter, Associated Banc-Corp had $29.1 billion in total assets. Associated Banc-Corp operates more than 200 Associated Bank branches in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. It also has commercial financial services in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Texas.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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