‘It’s been troubling:’ Paisan’s co-owner concerned about deferred repairs

MADISON, Wis. — A twelve-story building in downtown Madison is safe to re-enter for the first time in six weeks, but with safety concerns temporarily settled, new concerns have been raised by a ground-floor tenant.

In early September, Paisan’s, a restaurant that’s been serving Madison since 1950, had to close its doors, along with every other tenant of the building at 131 W. Wilson St. over city inspectors’ concerns that the building could collapse.

This week, after over a month of reinforcement work in the underground parking garage, the city gave tenants the green light to return. However, Paisans co-owner Wally Borowski is doing so apprehensively.

“I’m very apprehensive and I think it’d be silly not to be,” he said.

Borowski says – and city reports show- the structural issues have been known since at least 2016. He has questions about why it’s taken so long to actually address them.

“I don’t believe it should’ve happened,” said Borowski. “What more could’ve been done would’ve been to not have this be an emergency and have done this years ago when it first presented itself.”

According to City of Madison building inspectors, years of deferred repairs in the 50-year-old building contributed to the issues. City Inspection Director Matt Tucker says the underground support columns currently in place in the garage are a temporary fix, and that the city will keep an eye on further structural issues.

News 3 Now attempted to reach the building’s owner, Executive Management Incorporated but they declined to comment.

Borowski is hopeful that business will return to normal when the restaurant reopens tomorrow, but remains uncertain, displeased by the burden the repairs have put on Paisan’s.

“We’ve been in business for 70 years,” he said. “It’s put us in jeopardy.”

“My biggest concern is to say ‘what happens after we reopen?'”