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222 N. Charter rendering (copy)

A rendering of the originally proposed 12-story student apartment at 222 N. Charter St. The city's Plan Commission shot down the proposal last spring, and Stopple Revocable Trust plans to submit an alternative plan in the late fall. 

A Madison developer is taking another stab at getting city approval for a 12-story student apartment building at the corner of North Charter and West Johnson streets.

A previous proposal to demolish an aging two-story house at 222 N. Charter St. and construct the 43-unit building was shot down in a unanimous vote by the city Plan Commission in March. Commissioners then were concerned that the building plan didn’t meet setback standards from Charter Street in the neighborhood plan. In addition, the plan didn’t meet standards for stepbacks at upper floors, and city staff were concerned that the project would set a troubling precedent for future developments.

However, the building met city goals for height limits and a desire for high-density housing in the campus area.

In an Aug. 15 letter of intent to the city, Stopple Revocable Trust pitched the proposal again, highlighting a “generous rooftop terrace,” a ground-floor arcade and balconies for most units. But Jim Stopple wouldn’t elaborate on specific changes made to win approval.

“At this particular moment I would rather leave it sit and have it first appear in front of the city meetings that we have, rather than put it out at the moment,” he said.

He said he expects to have the proposal in front of the Plan Commission in late November or early December and hopes to begin construction next summer, for completion a year later.

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“We think it meets the neighborhood goals and desires,” he said. “We would like to work through it again and see if this time up to bat we have a home run.”

To meet standards, the plan would have to navigate a relatively tight space in a triangular parcel. The lot comprises 5,812 square feet, and the building’s footprint would take up 4,848 square feet, or 83 percent of the lot.

The letter of intent describes a 3- and 4-story base of “smooth cast stone masonry with expansive windows,” mid-level brick and metal panels and a metal top panel.

The last time around, the plan also met opposition from UW-Madison, which owns adjacent property and targeted the Stopple property as a “desired acquisition” in its master plan. But Stopple said then that offers from the university were nowhere near the appraised value.

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.