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UW Regents vote to demolish popular Brothers Bar

UW Regents vote to demolish popular Brothers Bar

A UW Board of Regents committee on Thursday voted to demolish the Brothers Bar & Grill building as soon as this summer, sounding a final death knell for the University Avenue location of the popular campus area bar.

The building, 704 University Ave., and four other buildings on the same block are scheduled to be destroyed to make way for a new UW-Madison music performance facility.

The university used its power of eminent domain to condemn the Brothers building despite a legal battle by the bar owners, Marc and Eric Fortney. The Fortneys dropped their lawsuit in April 2010 and the university took the land for about $2.1 million. Since then, the Fortneys have paid the university rent to continue operating the bar.

Marc Fortney said the bar will continue operating out of that building until May 31 while it looks for a place to relocate.

"We still haven't found one," he said. "We're trying like the dickens."

The Regents committee approved using $830,900 in building trust funds to demolish the five buildings, likely beginning in August. Three of the other buildings are vacant. UW-Madison is recommending the demolition now to prevent vandalism of the buildings, said Alan Fish, associate vice chancellor for facilities.

Other UW-Madison building projects approved by the Regents committee include:

• Renovating Carson Gulley Commons food facility, 1515 Tripp Commons, at a cost of about $10 million: $5 million in program revenue and $5 million in program revenue-supported borrowing.

• Renovating Memorial Union's Theater Wing at a cost of $52 million: $40.5 million in program revenue-supported borrowing and $11.5 million in gift funds.

• Remodeling the Kohl Center to create the South End club at a cost of $2.9 million in gift funds.

The projects will go to the full board for approval today.

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