‘The building is devalued’: Business owners upset over former Sacred Feather building painted black
MADISON, Wis. — Business owners and pedestrians are stopping and staring at the building that was formerly occupied by the Sacred Feather shop located at 417 State St.
The Sacred Feather closed last year. The building is now under new ownership by Fitchburg-based SCK Investment. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the person renting the building was planning on turning the space into a coffee shop and had the outside of the building painted black.
Business owners said they are not pleased with this change.
“It’s shocking to look out and see this building radically changed in just a few hours,” said Stephen Manley, who owns B-Side Records just across the street from the building.
When Manley looked out his window and saw his normal view was different and darker, it ruffled a few feathers.
“It was beautiful.” Manley said. “One of the most beautiful buildings downtown, easily. It seemed to me they were really altering it in a way that people are going to be upset.”
Manley asked George Hank, the city building inspector, if this had been approved. It hadn’t.
“I just think it’s unfortunate that they did this without even asking if this was an issue,” Hank said.
The building is not in a historical district, according to the city. It is in what is called the Downtown Core District (DC District). Although it isn’t technically a historic district building, it carries a lot of history.
Underneath the black paint, the building is natural stone and brick.
Just next door at the Dubai Mediterranean Restaurant and Bar, business owner Miar Maktabi said he’s “shocked. It was heartbreaking. I called the previous owner who used to own the building until last August. I told him and he looked through the media and found out it was actually true. He was crying.”
The previous owner of this building wasn’t available to comment, but he sold many hats to longtime Madison resident and Secretary of State, Doug LaFollette.
“I’ve walked up and down State Street for 30, 40 years,” LaFollette said. “First thing, I hated to see the hat store go because there’s no place to buy hats really now. And second, when they destroyed the look of the building, this historic building, it was a shock and I felt bad about it.”
Hank said the SCK Investment and the renter are willing to work to come up with a plan to remove the paint without damaging the building. Hank said that is going to take a lot of work, and the paint may never fully come off.
“It’s just a really sad situation,” Manley said. “It’s awful. The building is devalued. It just goes to show that permits and processes are very important with the city. It’s got to be done.”
Hank said SCK Investment has two weeks to remove the paint. If they are not able to do so, the Urban Design Commission will decide how to handle the appearance of the building going forward.
The building owner was contacted, but she walked away without providing comment.
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