Judge Doyle Square redevelopment site

The new parking garage that the city is building as part of the Judge Doyle Square project is estimated to be ready for occupancy by October. 

Madison hopes to open a new underground municipal parking garage for downtown visitors and commuters by October, according to Project Manager George Austin.

The 560-stall parking garage, which will replace the Government East Garage at the corner of East Doty and South Pinckney streets, will be the first completed element of the Judge Doyle Square redevelopment project that encompasses two blocks currently holding the Madison Municipal Building and Government East.

After disputes over aspects of the project, the city is overseeing development of Block 88, which includes the new garage and housing, while Beitler will carry out its plan for a 250-room hotel to serve Monona Terrace and apartment complex on Block 105.

“It’s great that we are working on both blocks at the same time,” Austin said.

On Wednesday, Beitler filed a request for a major alteration to its plans for Block 105, where Government East Garage currently stands. The application includes requests to add a swimming pool, which is required by the hotelier, and remove parking.

The proposed changes require approvals from the Plan Commission and City Council.  

Because Beitler would no longer have parking for the hotel, the developer negotiated with the city to lease 40 stalls of valet parking in the new Block 88 parking garage. The Finance Committee recommended the proposal Monday. 

In an update to the committee, Austin said the new parking ramp will be substantially completed in August and hopes to receive a certificate of occupancy to start parking in the ramp in October. Once the new ramp is open, the city will proceed with demolishing the current Government East Garage.

Once the current garage and site are cleared, Beitler will be able to start development. Austin said the tentative schedule will allow for the ramp to be demolished and the site available for Beitler to develop as early as February 29, 2020.

“With the Beitler team focusing on the hotel and a specific timeline for its development makes us hope that the Block 105 site will move forward in 2020,” Austin said.

The Beitler team can wait up until April 2021 to start development on that site, according to its agreement with the city.

Beitler was originally going to develop both blocks, but in an effort to resolve a legal dispute over part of the project, the City Council approved paying Beitler $700,000 in exchange for the developer relinquishing its rights to develop the Municipal Building Block.

In February, the city issued a request for proposals to develop a housing or mixed-use project on Block 88 and received three applications in April for projects that cost between $38.2 million and $52 million.

“The opportunity to complete Block 88 as the city had hoped for when it started the process for the Judge Doyle Square project is invigorating,” Austin said.

The proposals include:

  • Madison-based Gebhard Development’s $52 million proposal to build a 196-unit apartment complex and 26,000-square-feet of commercial space and amenities above the ground-level commercial space and two floors of private parking, collectively called the podium. Seventy-eight units would be income restricted for renters with household incomes at or below 60% of the Dane County median income. Gebhardt is also requesting $1.75 million of affordable housing funds from the city and has proposed to pay $7.5 million to purchase the air rights and the podium, subject to structural modifications.
  • The Milwaukee-based Mandel Group is proposing a $38.2 million project that would include a 144-unit apartment complex and 7,000-square-feet of retail space in the podium. Twenty-nine units would be income restricted for renters with household incomes at or below 80% of the Dane County median income. The develop would also seek an unspecified amount of funding from the city, to be negotiated at a later date, for the affordable housing. Mandel Group has also proposed a future purchase of the air rights for $1 million within 10 years of occupancy.
  • Madison-based Stone House Development proposal to build a 159-unit apartment project and 7,000 square feet of retail space in the podium would cost an estimated $40 million. Thirty-seven units would be income restricted for renters with household incomes at or below 80 percent of the Dane County median income. The developer would also request $1.2 million from the city in affordable housing funds and would pay the city $5 million to purchase the air rights and the podium.

Proposals were required to include an element of workforce housing. The city will prioritize projects that maximize the tax base, have a straightforward development framework and utilize sustainability concepts in the design, construction and operation of the building.

The city negotiating team will present its recommendations to the Finance Committee May 28. The committee will also conduct interviews with the applicants prior to Memorial Day, Austin said.

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