After receiving land use approvals, an affordable housing project for veterans and their families on East Washington Avenue is one step closer to reality.
The project, known as The Valor on Washington, was one of several proposed apartments to receive needed approvals from the Madison Plan Commission Monday night.
The six-story affordable housing project at 1314-1326 E. Washington Ave. for veterans and their families sits on the former Messner building site.
The project includes 59 units, 50 of which would be affordable. It’s estimated to cost $14.8 million, and recently received $950,000 from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund. The project is applying for federal low income housing tax credits. If granted, developer Gorman & Company could begin construction in 2020 and finish by mid-2021, a city staff report says.
Dryhootch, a nonprofit support organization for veterans, will occupy space on the first floor of the building, and Lutheran Social Services will provide supportive services for all tenants. The building also includes a coffee shop, children's area and fitness room.
Previously designed as a five-story building with underground parking, recent flooding on the isthmus spurred the developer to remove underground parking and add a story.
Three buildings on the property, including two commercial buildings and a three-family house, would be demolished to make way for the project.
City staff recommended approval of the project, saying it will “replace a long vacant commercial site,” and the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association council voted in support of the project. On Monday, Patty Prime, president of the TLNA, praised the development for providing multiple bedrooms and on-site support services.
A condition of approval was the installation of an eight-foot fence around the project’s play area and between the development and neighboring Tenney Nursery & Parent Center.
The project is scheduled to appear before the City Council on Nov. 20.
555 WEST WASHINGTON AVE
The Plan Commission also approved plans to build a five-story, 45-unit apartment building at 555 W. Washington Ave., the former site of two-story Heartland Credit Union and current home of Kids Forward (formerly the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families) offices.
The Bassett District Neighborhood Steering Committee supported the project, calling it a “positive outcome for the neighborhood bringing that piece of real estate to a higher and better use.” City staff recommended approval of the project. Plan Commission members praised the project and Ald. Mike Verveer called it an “absolutely excellent addition to the neighborhood.”
119-125 NORTH BUTLER STREET
Also approved Monday was a four-story, 31-unit apartment building at 119-125 N. Butler Street by developer Cliff Fisher. A two-family residence and four-unit apartment building on the site would be demolished.
A slightly larger version of the project at 44 units, incorporating two properties on North Hancock Street, was rejected by the Plan Commission last year with concerns that the project depth wouldn't blend in with the neighborhood. The scaled-down version won approval Monday.
A letter from the city’s building inspection division director, George Hank, pointed out that several other Fisher properties have been “not constructed per the approved plans or resulted in numerous zoning and building code violations, or both.”
Hank recommended that Fisher be required to first rectify violations at his other properties at 5, 15, and 19 S. Blair Street before receiving building permits of the new project, and give the city an “irrevocable letter of credit” for 5 percent of the project cost to be called if the development is not built as described. Hank’s recommendations were included in the conditions of the project's approval.