The former Wisconsin State Bank building in Delavan is being transformed into an event venue called The Treasury by Ryan and Jillian Niemann. The plans are to open the facility in June. (Submitted photo)

They are converting former bank into event venue

By Heather Ruenz

Staff Writer

It’s the combination of Ryan and Jillian Niemann’s talents and interests that led them to take on transformation of a former Delavan bank building into The Treasury, an event venue suitable for a variety of uses.

Jillian, a makeup, hair and wardrobe stylist previously specializing in celebrity clientele, television, live events, commercial work and country music, since relocating to the area has focused on traveling the state and country doing bridal styling.

Ryan, a general contractor and third generation carpenter, doing mostly residential custom work is now taking on Jillian’s dream to turn the former Wisconsin State Bank into a beautiful event space for people to enjoy for generations to come.

After Jillian began to specialize in weddings, she said she and Ryan shared a common interest in having their own property one day and the bank was a perfect fit.

She said the bank windows reminded her of a commercial shoot she was on in Nashville and she was able to envision the space initially for how well photos could be taken in there because of the natural light and soaring ceilings.

Jillian said while it’s obvious the space would be “fantastic for a wedding, we have already had interest in groups hosting charity galas, awards banquets, private meetings, photo shoot production rentals, and more.”

One example, she said, is the Delavan Rotary Club, which is currently working on a big event for Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, that will celebrate Dia De Los Muertos and tickets will be available to the public.

Opening this summer

If all goes according to the plan, the construction phase at The Treasury will be finished in May and the owners will host the first event in June.

Jillian said there are numerous existing features of the building that are perfect for its future use.

“The original green and white marble from when the bank was constructed in 1909, amazing natural light in the space coming through the 15-foot arched windows facing southwest, the interesting vaults on various levels and seeing the old building materials as we have peeled back the layers of the many additions the space has had over the years,” she said.

Upon completion of The Treasury, the couple will be hosting an event open to local media and vendors and later that same day, opening it up to the public.

They are now formally taking reservations for space rentals beginning in July and are offering full days only on Saturdays but do have a variety of package options for shorter, value priced rentals on all other days of the week, which Jillian said will be nice to accommodate a variety of clients and functions.

Changing the bank into an event space has been an involved process, Jillian said. It began with approval by the City of Delavan for the Conditional Use Permit last fall followed by the granting of the liquor license.

From there it was changing the building use and having all the plans approved by the state including nearly all brand new electrical, plumbing, construction build out and HVAC, which has been a huge overhaul, she said, along with the demolition.

“The demolition of the space was significant and my husband, Ryan, and his crew have had 40 tons of building materials hauled out by Lakeland Disposal so far,” Jillian said.

Surprises along the way

Upon removing old plaster walls in the bank building, Jillian said they found beautiful pinkish/tan bricks that will be cleaned soon. Their brick mason said they are called Chicago Commons.

“We also found an old fireplace behind a wall that I’m guessing used to heat the building, based on the coal-burning oven it’s attached to in the basement,” she said.

Work also included having to core through a 10-inch thick concrete floor to gain access to use the basement vault as a lounge.

“It will be a beautiful underground space that will be set up with vanities for girls to glam or dimmed to accommodate a moody underground speakeasy vibe lounge for evenings,” Jillian explained.

They also cut out the back end of an interior wall to allow for a balcony/mezzanine with glass railing to overlook the party and allow for extra room capacity, which will be roughly 185 people.

Though nothing Jillian would describe as overly interesting has been uncovered so far in the walls, they have found a variety of items.

“We’ve uncovered old perfume bottles, vintage cleaning tins, some coins, bank deposit slips dating back to the 30s, old liquor and glass juice bottles, and some 50 cent pieces molded into old terrazzo flooring demoed,” she said.

“We also found a piece of scrap wood used as a walkway plank in the ceiling that has “Wisconsin State Bank, Delavan, WI” hand-written on it from original construction that we plan to frame and exhibit somewhere in the space,” she added.

It’ll have a unique feel

The 5,100-square foot, former bank was built in 1909 and is adorned with four vaults.

Jillian said the finished space overall will have a bright and airy feel and not be overly moody or industrial, which many renovated historic spaces are.

It will feature white marble floors, white wainscot along walls for character and detail, two 60-inch glass chandeliers in ballroom, uplights surrounding the room, clear chiavari chairs as the base package and velvet bar stools.

“And we just got approved this week on new metal lanterns on the exterior, which will give the whole space an upscale modern appeal but with character of the era in mind,” Jillian added.

Remaining exterior plans, if approved, will include new planter boxes with some lighting shining on limestone columns and a gold lettered sign boasting “The Treasury.”

Jillian said several area companies have been part of the “all star team dealing with the challenges of updating a very old space” including: Niemann Construction; McCormack and Etten Architects; Peck and Weis Heating and Cooling; Foremost Electric; MTG Plumbing; Allstate Concrete.

In a brochure about The Treasury, the Niemanns express appreciation for the warm welcome by the Delavan community.

“We could not be happier to be a part of the downtown. Everyone has been so welcoming, kind and supportive of our vision and we are forever grateful for that,” they said.

Jillian said the best way to follow the progress as it continues is through social media, @thetreasurydelavan on Instagram and Facebook.

The Treasury is at 303 E. Walworth Ave. in downtown Delavan. For more information or to request a reservation visit thetreasurydelavan.com, call 312-720-5185 or send an email to events@thetreasurydelavan.com.

 
 

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