Try 3 months for $3
East Washington Avenue

The StartingBlock Madison entrepreneurial hub will be located on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, which is at right of this picture.

Madison is gradually moving forward on a new parking structure in the Capitol East District and is now considering sending out a request for proposals to build the new facility.

The proposed 650-stall structure would be the first new facility for the city's Parking Utility in more than 20 years. It would sit on the southeast corner of East Main and South Livingston streets, providing parking to support surrounding development and increased public traffic to the burgeoning area.

The land would either be leased or purchased from Madison Gas and Electric, and the structure would work in tandem with a project from Gebhardt Development that would include a new StartingBlock business incubator, American Family Insurance office space, a culinary center, a performance venue and additional office space.

“We’ve been working in sort of parallel tracks,” said Ald. Marsha Rummel.

Rummel said Otto Gebhardt has agreed not to include structured parking as part of his building, allowing more space for other uses. Tenants would then likely lease parking from the city’s structure during the day, opening it up for public use and hourly parking at night.

“It would be more of a multi-use structure,” Rummel said.

Parking Utility engineer Bill Putnam said there are still a lot of details to be worked out, including the desire to have retail or commercial presence in the ground floor of the facility to activate that part of Main Street.

“We are definitely trying to be sensitive to the aesthetics and have it not just look like a parking garage, like our Government East garage does,” Putnam said, referencing the aging ramp downtown.

As Madison as it gets: Get Cap Times' highlights sent daily to your inbox

He said MG&E is also interested in having access to the top level or roof for solar panels, which would additionally mean less snow clearing for the city on the top deck.

“It’s exciting for us to kind of branch out into a new area that has a lot of development potential,” Putnam said, noting the city’s efforts to revitalize the East Washington Avenue corridor. “This is one step in that process.”

The 2016 capital improvement plan includes $13 million for the project in 2016 and 2017. To help fund the structure, the city is considering amending the project plan and boundary for Tax Increment District 36.

The resolution to send out a request for proposals is being introduced to the City Council Tuesday evening and will work its way through committees before returning to council for final approval.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to 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.