The 900 block of East Washington Avenue has been subject to over a decade of development ups and downs, with several projects never making it past the proposal stage. Now, developer Curt Brink has a new plan to redevelop the property, starting with a boutique hotel.
Under the new plans, the historic Kleuter building, on the corner of South Paterson Street and East Washington Avenue, would be preserved and added onto to make a hotel. The rest of the site would eventually be redeveloped, primarily with office space, Brink said.
The 4.2 acre site was the former home of the Mautz Paint factory, including the existing five-story Kleuter building at 901 E. Washington Ave., which was a warehouse for Mautz.
Mautz Paint moved to the East Washington site in 1928. In 2001, it was bought by Sherwin-Williams, but the factory closed a year later in 2002.
That year, Curt Brink, along with investors Jim and Marlene Korb, bought it from the Mautz family for $2.8 million.
In 2005, Brink proposed a project on the site known as “Archipelago Village.” The original design for the property would have been the largest redevelopment project in city history. The $250 million project would have created a 27-story building including retail, office space, condominiums, a grocery store and parking.
"I want to applaud Curt for thinking big," then-Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said. "But it strikes me as too ambitious for one site.”
In 2011, Hovde Properties of Madison proposed turning the site into 200,000 square feet of commercial space with a parking garage, but plans were dropped due to market uncertainties and funding problems.
That year, Ale Asylum considered locating on the block, but due to space constraints eventually decided to locate on the north side of Madison.
In 2014, Brink proposed a scaled-down version of the Archipelago Village, this time adding five stories to the Kleuter building for a $16.5 million project and making it a home for entrepreneurial startup center StartingBlock.
But StartingBlock instead decided on the Spark building of the Gebhardt development project on the 800 block of East Washington.
Brink again amended the plans for Archipelago Village, proposing a restaurant, winery and 10-story apartment, but this project also failed to gain traction.
Brink said that although those projects didn’t work out, they helped rezone the area from a three-story maximum to allow for towers like the Constellation apartments on the corridor today.
“They wouldn’t let me go that high, but what that did, it got the zoning changed,” Brinks said. “That’s what helped change the city.”
According to Ald. Marsha Rummel’s blog, a neighborhood meeting about the project will be announced soon. Brink said the meeting is planned for the end of the month.
Brink said he hopes to begin work on the project this fall.