On May 18, Bishop David Ricken granted approval to raze the building after receiving recommendations from the Diocesan Presbyteral Council, Diocesan College of Consultors and the Diocesan Finance Council. The cost of demolition is estimated at $133,000.
The decision to take down the 16,300-square-foot building is based on several factors. First, it is cost-prohibitive to renovate the building in three important areas: fire alarm and fire suppression systems, handicap accessibility, and heating and cooling. A 2005 architectural review of the Webster Avenue building estimated it would cost between $1.74 million and $2 million to address deficiencies in the four-floor building. Second, by removing the structure, the 35,610-square-foot land parcel increases about 30 percent in value. Also for sale is an adjacent 31,224-square-foot parcel, totaling 1.7 acres. The total value of the properties is $1,034,410.
Income from the sale of the property will offset the loss of rental fees the diocese previously received from tenants who occupied Melania and Bosco halls. Such income is used for operational costs of diocesan facilities.
The Webster Avenue property has been on the market since October. In that time, 19 people have made inquiries, and two have walked through the building.
Built in 1911 as the bishop’s residence then converted to office space in the mid-1970s, the Webster Avenue building was vacated in December 2009 as part of the Green Bay Diocese’s plan to reduce costs and consolidate operations from four buildings to three. Employees who worked in the Webster Avenue building were relocated to either Melania Hall or the new Chancery (formerly Bosco Hall) on the west side of the campus. The third office building on the diocesan campus is Bona Hall.