You are the owner of this article.
Iconic downtown Wells Fargo building sold to investment group
breaking top story

Iconic downtown Wells Fargo building sold to investment group

{{featured_button_text}}
Tower

Renovation of the Wells Fargo tower in downtown Casper nears completion in July 2017. The building, which includes the onion-like structure below, has been sold to an investment group.

An investment group has bought the iconic Wells Fargo bank building on First Street in downtown Casper. Realtor Chuck Hawley confirmed that the building — often affectionately referred to as “the onion” and “the eggbeater” — had been sold, and property records show an investment group with ties to the Natrona County Republican Party chairman bought the building Dec. 20.

Property records tie the investment group, Tri Opportunity Investment Group LLC, to Joe McGinley, chair of the county party, and his wife, Diane. Neither McGinley responded to emails or calls for comment, leaving the plans for the building unclear. Hawley said he could not divulge any information about the new owners.

The historic bank building was built in 1964, originally as a Wyoming National Bank. It was designed by a prominent Denver architect. The tower that accompanies the bank building was put up in 1968 and designed by Casper architect Harold Engstrom. It too is considered a city landmark — even gracing Casper’s “WyoCity” logo. At the time of its assembly, it was the world’s tallest pylon-type time-temperature display and has been regarded as the introduction of avant-garde architecture in the city.

While the longevity of the historic structures are now in question, a Wells Fargo spokesperson said the bank won’t be moving out for at least the next few months.

Julie Fogerson, a spokesperson for the bank, said the company has been in the process of selling the building since 2018, in order to build a new branch nearby. Indeed, the new branch would be right across the street from where the iconic building and spire sit.

“We will be building a new branch where the motor bank on the property currently stands,” she said via email.

The reason for the relocation across the street was vague. Fogerson said the company monitors each branch and makes “adjustments based on customer use, market factors, economic trends and competitor actions.”

Fogerson said the new branch is expected to be completed in 2020 but couldn’t offer more specifics on the construction timeline. While the new branch is being built, Wells Fargo will lease the current location from the new owners.

Once the new branch is built, however, the fate of the unique downtown structure is unclear. Hawley said the new owners plan to build a “new development” where the current building stands but couldn’t provide further details.

All Wells Fargo tower needed was a fresh paint job; signs, not tower, posed risk

Records filed Dec. 20 with the county clerk’s office regarding the property include a warranty deed, establishing the transfer of the property from Wells Fargo to Tri Opportunity Investment Group LLC, signed by Ronald Mack, Wells Fargo’s vice president of corporate properties.

The investment group was created in August and organized by a Cheyenne law firm. The attorney listed on the LLC’s articles of organization, Matthew Kaufman, did not respond to calls or emails for comment.

A mortgage agreement between Jonah Bank and the investment group is signed by the McGinleys, both of whom are listed on that document as signees for the investment group.

With the plans for the building still unclear, the city’s historic preservation commission will be keeping a close eye on the property, according to that commission’s chair, Jeff Bond.

This isn’t the first time the fate of the iconic structure has been in question. In 2016, the bank attempted to remove the landmark 177-foot “egg beater” spire, citing safety concerns. Local historic preservation advocates balked at the tower’s demolition and the bank ultimately decided to keep it but removed its signage to make the tower structurally sound.

“The Historic preservation commission has been following the potential sale of the Wells Fargo building for some time,” Bond said via email. He said things began in 2016 when the bank attempted to take down the spire, but the actual, onionlike bank building is also something the commission hopes to preserve.

“It is very unique, probably one of the most unique buildings in town, and the region,” Bond said. “The Commission is clearly interested in (seeing) the building maintained and preserved.”

Bond said he hadn’t heard much information about the building’s sale but that the commission would be keeping an eye on the situation.

Follow local government reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @morganhwrites

1
0
0
0
0

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Local Government Reporter

Morgan Hughes primarily covers local government. After growing up in rural Wisconsin, she graduated from Marquette University in 2018. She moved to Wyoming shortly after and covered education in Cheyenne before joining the Star-Tribune in May 2019.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News