Madison is reaching out to other grocery store operators after Luna’s Groceries decided to step away from a development on South Park Street.
A full-service grocery store is a key component to the future of the former Truman Olson site at 1402 S. Park St. It’s the latest development in the years-long effort to keep a full-service grocery store on Madison’s south side.
Following discussions between the city, development team and Luna’s Groceries, the city announced that the site is “not a good fit” for the local grocer, which opened a store in the Allied Dunn’s Marsh neighborhood in 2019 and addressed a significant food desert.
Mariam Maldonado, owner of Luna’s Groceries, said in a press release she was excited to expand Luna’s neighborhood store model that “takes care of the community” and bring it to South Park Street.
“However, in developing plans for the store, it has become increasingly clear to me that it will be challenging to accomplish Luna's vision on this scale and in this timeframe,” Maldonado said. “This has been a difficult decision for me, and I have appreciated the city's trust in me and Luna's mission.”
Currently, Milwaukee-based Rule Enterprises and Movin’ Out, Inc are proposing to construct 150 units of affordable apartments, a 345-space parking structure, and a 24,000 square foot grocery condo space at the site.
Madison recently purchased the grocery condo space for $4.6 million, which allowed the development team to close the deal on financing and begin construction on schedule.
“I’m grateful that everyone involved with this project is prioritizing the needs of the South Madison community,” Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, said in the statement. “I’m confident that we will secure a grocery partner for this site, and I’m confident that Luna’s will continue to serve our community well for many years to come.”
The city will reach out to grocers who previously expressed interest in the project. Madison staff recommended moving forward with Rule Enterprises in 2019, choosing the Milwaukee company over three proposals from Baehr Inc., Valeo and McShane Construction, Welton Enterprises and Gorman & Co, which specifically named Maurer’s Market.
Neighbors have fought to maintain a grocery store in the neighborhood since the Pick ‘N Save located on the lot adjacent to the Truman Olson site announced it would close when its lease runs out in 2022. The city required all developers’ proposals to include a grocery store.
Representing south Madison, Ald. Sheri Carter, District 14, expressed her commitment to keeping a full-service grocery store in the area, and Ald. Tag Evers, District 13, said he remains confident the city can deliver.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to avoid a gap in grocery services on the south side and to make sure the grocery store not only gets built but succeeds in the long run,” Evers said in the statement.
Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.