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After another delay, Festival Foods not expected to open until spring
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After another delay, Festival Foods not expected to open until spring

Festival Foods

This a view of the corner of 800 East Washington Avenue and North Livingston Street where a new Festival Foods will anchor a mixed-use project.

The grocery store being built in a East Washington Avenue development faces a delay of six months or more past its original target opening date.

Festival Foods is expecting to open inside the Galaxie mixed-use complex in the 800 block of East Washington in early- to mid-spring, District 2 Ald. Ledell Zellers said.

The company originally hoped to open the 55,000-square-foot, 24-hour store in late September, but that was scuttled by general construction delays, Festival public relations director Nick Arlt said in July.

On Friday, Arlt declined to give a new projected opening date, saying one doesn't even exist internally.

"We're not even trying to guess right now," he said, "because that's all it would be."

Festival's application to the city for a liquor license originally listed Sept. 18 as the anticipated opening date, but that was crossed off and changed to Dec. 4.

A November email from Festival accounting manager Tanya Miske to Zellers said the store wouldn't open on Dec. 4 and that the company was "looking more at March or April 2016."

Galaxie developer Otto Gebhardt said the occupancy date in the Festival Foods lease agreement has always been in April 2016, with efforts — but no promises — to shorten the timeline.

Despite not yet having a store open in the Madison market, Festival has been active in getting its name out in the community. It was the title sponsor of the June 27 Shake the Lake fireworks show over Lake Monona and associated entertainment stages.

And Festival pledged $5,000 for a platinum-level sponsorship of Monona Terrace's Concerts on the Rooftop in 2016.

The store is a ground-floor anchor of the 13-story Galaxie development that in October was granted an alteration to a conditional use by the Plan Commission to expand by 48 units to total 282 apartments or condos.

It also includes 115,000 square feet of retail or commercial space and more than 700 parking spots, some of which are scheduled to be used for events at neighboring Breese Stevens Field.

Hundreds of apartment units have either gone on line in the last few years or are in the planning stages in the blocks around Festival Foods.

Gebhardt Development also built the 12-story, 220-unit Constellation mixed-use project in the 700 block of East Washington Avenue and is working on a proposal for a two-parcel project across East Washington from the Galaxie that would feature a music venue and space for American Family Insurance and entrepreneurial hub StartingBlock.

In the 1000 block of East Washington, Stone House Development has proposed an 11-story building with 198 market-rate or affordable apartments as well as retail and office space.

Metcalfe's Market was originally part of the proposal for the Galaxie development but pulled out of the project in 2013. Festival, an Onalaska company, signed on for the grocery space in early 2014.

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