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Drury hotel

A rendering of the hotel proposed for the downtown MATC campus. This view faces west from the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Dayton Street.

Plans for the massive redevelopment of Madison Area Technical College’s downtown campus look a lot different than they did last summer. Downtown residents will get their first chance to weigh in on the new designs Monday night.

A neighborhood meeting will discuss the new plans April 30 at 7 p.m. at the MATC site, 211 N. Carroll St., Room D240. Alds. Mike Verveer and Ledell Zellers are hosting the meeting.

The project, previously designed as a 197-room hotel and 10-story office and retail building, had to re-tool after one of the developers dropped out. Now the plans propose a 312-room hotel with some ground-floor retail space. 

In 2016, the MATC board of trustees began accepting bids for a developer for their downtown campus. Drury Southwest was not a finalist, but after partnering with Hovde Properties, the two were chosen for the project. Under a 98-year land lease from MATC, the developers would have leased the property starting at $750,000 a year and rising to $4.5 million a year.

Hovde would have been responsible for a 10-story building of mostly office space in what is currently a campus parking lot on Wisconsin Avenue. Drury would have been responsible for renovating existing MATC buildings into a hotel with about 200 rooms.

Drury, a privately owned hotel business based in Missouri, has renovated historic sites including old banks, hospitals and markets, into hotels.

The projects would have had different architects and general contractors, but were “attached at the hip, one way or the other,” Mike Slavish, president of Hovde, said at a neighborhood meeting last August.

But in November 2017, the projects were severed. Hovde dropped out of the project due to “a number of issues with the underlying land lease.”

Now, Drury is taking over the project alone. Drury will still renovate the MATC building into 197 rooms. But in place of the 10-story office building, Drury would build an eight-story tower with 115 more hotel rooms and about 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail or restaurant space.

Drury senior vice president and secretary Herb Wedemeier told the Wisconsin State Journal in March that “Madison will be very well served by our first-class hotel rooms.”

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The greater Madison region added 401 hotel rooms in 2017, the greatest room increase since 2008. Downtown Madison Inc. president Jason Ilstrup told the Cap Times said the increasing numbers point to a healthy economy and a demand for more rooms.

Drury's plans include 256 stalls of parking slated for the site in one underground and three above-grade levels of parking in the eight-story tower.

The historic Madison Central High School arch will remain where it is, utilized as an entrance to the hotel on Wisconsin Avenue.

In late March, Verveer told the Wisconsin State Journal he was “pleased with the initial direction” of the plans and expected residents to approve of the changes.

The project aims to start in mid-2019. MATC will vacate the downtown campus and relocate to their coming south side campus at 801 W. Badger Rd. That campus is slated to be fully completed by the fall of 2019.

According to the design application, the developer hopes to finish construction by early winter 2021.

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