As reported on

BIZ TIMES — Hartland-based Town Bank plans to open a branch in a 4,000-square-foot retail space at 401 E. Kilbourn Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.

Town Bank’s only existing branch in the City of Milwaukee, at 140 S. First St. in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.
Phoenix 401, an affiliate of commercial real estate company Phoenix Investors LLC, said it has executed a long-term lease agreement with Town Bank for a retail branch in the space, to open this fall.

Jay Mack, chief executive officer of Town Bank, confirmed the branch would open in that space, pending regulatory approval, likely in the fourth quarter of 2017. It would probably have six to 10 employees.

“It’s a highly visible corner, it’s got great street presence,” Mack said. “There might be an opportunity if we grow downtown to take some of the office space on the upper floors. It really meets the needs that we would have for a downtown office, so that’s why we found it to be attractive.”

Town Bank would fill the spot currently occupied by an Associated Bank branch. That branch is one of just a few Associated Bank locations left in the general downtown area, and has been operational since the 1990s. But Phoenix decided not to renew Associated’s lease on the space, which is up in September.

“We have a good banking relationship with Phoenix, we know them well and they’re aware of our expansion plans, so the discussions came up in the normal course of our relationship with them,” Mack said. “Milwaukee for us is an attractive market. If you look at our existing footprint…we have 20 locations and most of those locations are not in Milwaukee.”

“Over the course of the last eight months we considered our options for this space, including a new lease with Associated Bank, various high-traffic retailers including national coffee shop chains, and other financial firms,” said Frank P. Crivello, Chairman & Founder of Phoenix Investors. “After weighing all our options, we concluded that Town Bank was the best fit for our building on a long-term basis and are excited to add Town Bank to 401 E. Kilbourn.”

“Our corporate home is 401 E. Kilbourn Ave. Therefore, we wanted to take care in selecting the right long-term tenant for our first floor. Town Bank is a perfect fit for our organization as we have a successful lending and depository relationship,”

said David Marks, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Investors. “We wish Associated Bank well as it moves to exit 401 E. Kilbourn after a long-term presence in our building.”

Town Bank also is in the process of opening a branch at 4720 W. Lisbon Ave. on Milwaukee’s northwest side, which is expected to be operational in May or June, Mack said. That branch and this new one on Kilbourn are the only two branches Town Bank plans to open in 2017.

In mid-2018, Town Bank also plans to open a branch it is building in the City of Racine. Construction would begin on that branch in about 60 days, pending regulatory approval, Mack said. The bank, which currently has 19 branches in the Milwaukee and Madison areas, also has plans for more branches. Town Bank is owned by Rosemont, Illinois-based Wintrust Financial Corp.

“The other locations we’re evaluating primarily include Milwaukee but I can’t go into a lot of detail about where in Milwaukee or where in other markets we might be looking,” he said.

Associated Bank representatives were not available to comment about the branch closure.

“(Associated has) their own strategy and they make their decisions separate from us,” Mack said. “They bought the Milwaukee Center, so I would assume they’re looking at that building as one they would use for future expansion downtown. I believe what Associated is doing is looking to perhaps consolidate their downtown locations and have not as much brick-and-mortar.”