Madison’s Triangle Neighborhood was once home to the Greenbush Neighborhood, a vibrant mix of Italian, Jewish and black families. But The Bush, as it was called, was demolished decades ago in the name of progress and redevelopment, displacing residents. Bayview’s affordable apartments and townhomes were eventually built in its place.
Now, the area is poised for development again, and this time, community input has been a critical piece of the plan.
On Wednesday, the Bayview Foundation will begin the process for gaining approval to demolish and redevelop the Bayview Townhouses, located at 601 Bay View Drive.
In 1966, the Bayview Foundation was created and went to work on preserving the diversity and the affordable housing that the Greeenbush once enjoyed. Wednesday’s meeting will be the first time the foundation has made an informational presentation to the UDC.
Bayview Townhomes were built in 1971 and since then the area has been home to a very diverse population. Nearly 50% of the over 300 residents at Bayview are Hmong. Fifteen percent of the residents are Vietnamese, Laotian or Cambodian, 20% are Latinx and 13% are African-American, according to documents the Bayview Foundation submitted to the UDC.
The foundation has been inclusive and transparent with the residents of Bayview Townhomes and do not want to repeat some of the mistakes that were made in Madison’s past with displacing residents or pricing them out with new living spaces. They have hosted over fifteen meetings with residents in order to make sure that the redevelopment incorporates the cultural heritage of people who live there.
“Residents have been actively meeting about it,” said Kevin Burow of Knothe Bruce Architects. “They’ve been totally engaged in the process and are starting to get excited about it. Bayview has really offered up opportunities for them to be part of the process and give their thoughts and feelings on preferences, so their voices have been heard and shaped how we’re doing this development.”
Burow said that the level of engagement Bayview Foundation has done with residents has headed off any semblance of opposition. Plus, he pointed out, the Townhomes as they exist today are getting very run down, so few seem opposed to living in a nicer building.
With over 125 children living on site, the Bayview Foundation proposes an enlarged playground in addition to a community green that can support gardening, outdoor activities and cultural gatherings. There will be an outdoor pavilion as well for ceremonial and cultural activities.
Bayview currently consists of 102 units. Those units will be demolished in phases over the course of the next few years and in their place Bayview will construct 130 units.
According to Burow, the phasing will be done in such a way that none of the residents whose buildings are being demolished will be displaced from the property. There is vacant space right now that Burow said will be used to construct a 40-unit building that will house residents as their individual townhomes are demolished.
After a review by the UDC, Bayview Foundation will still have to go before the Plan Commission before it is able to receive ultimate approval. The group has already been approved to receive $2.9 million from the Madison Affordable Housing Fund.
On Wednesday’s agenda will also be design plans for the Dane County Jail renovation, the proposed Judge Doyle Square building which is expected to be a nine-story, 161 unit building and a proposal for The Hub II, which will be a seven-floor student housing center.