Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions finally moving, up the street, not to MiddletonThe agency will be moving a block up the street by December.
By: By George Hesselberg, The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
After months of going nowhere, the state Department of Financial Institutions is finally moving from its current home at 345 W. Washington Ave. -- but not to Middleton as originally planned. Instead, the agency will be moving a block up the street by December.
"This addresses a lot of issues, in terms of savings to taxpayers, getting a Building Commission-approved lease, and keeping the agency in the Downtown main corridor," said Jocelyn Webster, a spokeswoman for the Department of Administration, which oversees the state's buildings.
DFI's plans to move to Middleton were on the fast track last spring until members of the state Building Commission and the agency's landlord, the Alexander Co., brought the issue into public view. The department and its 135 employees were slated to move from three floors in Alexander's building to one floor at 1600 Aspen Commons near Greenway Station, owned by T. Wall Properties.
After complaints about favoritism and abandonment of Downtown, the Building Commission refused approval, and the matter was dropped, but the search was not.
In a surprise move, and after being directed by Gov. Scott Walker to find space in central Madison, the DOA came up with lots of newly vacated space one block away. By Dec. 1 the department will move to the fifth and part of the third floors of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority Building at 201 W. Washington Ave., also known as the Tommy G. Thompson Commerce Center.
The space is being freed mostly by employees of the now-defunct Commerce Department going to their new Department of Safety and Professional Services offices at Washington Square on East Washington Avenue.
The DOA has a lease with WHEDA until September 2017. According to the DOA, the move will save $409,625 in first-year rent costs over what DFI is now paying Alexander. Parking will be more expensive, however, and in addition to 27 in the new building, 93 stalls will be made available at the Dane County Capitol Square South Ramp on Henry Street, the DOA said. The cost to employees will be from $95 per month to $145 monthly in the ramp, an increase of nearly 50 percent.
Joe Alexander, who led the protests against moving tenants out of his building, declined to comment Wednesday on the departure of DFI after 16 years.
(c)2012 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)
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