JUDGE DOYLE SQUARE (copy)

Construction crews work on Judge Doyle Square in downtown Madison. The city is negotiating with Stone House Development over a proposal to build a housing complex above the podium. 

Madison is continuing its negotitations with Stone House Development over a proposal to build housing as part of the Judge Doyle Square project with a goal of the City Council considering an agreement in early December.

After previously attempting to reach a development agreement with Gebhardt Development to build a housing structure on top of ground-level commercial space and private parking — collectively called the podium — the city voted Aug. 26 to open negotiations with Stone House.

The podium is being built on top of the new underground municipal parking garage on the block that includes the Madison Municipal Building.

Project manager George Austin said Monday during an update to the Finance Committee that the negotiating team held a “successful” kick-off session with the developer Sept. 4.

The team and the developer scheduled five negotiating sessions through the end of October with the second session set for Thursday, Sept. 26. The staff team hopes to present a draft development agreement to the Finance Committee Nov. 11. From there, a resolution would be introduced at the Nov. 19 City Council meeting with the possibility for a vote Dec. 3.

If the development agreement is approved, the construction start date is targeted for June 1, 2020, with a move-in date of June 2021.

Stone House’s original proposal included a plan to build a 159-unit apartment project with 7,000 square feet of retail space in the podium at an estimated cost of $40 million. Occupancy in 20 units would be restricted to renters with household incomes at or below 60% of the Dane County median income and 17 units at or below 80%.

The proposal now includes 161 units, which is two more than the original proposal. Stone House has also tweaked its building design to remove townhouse units from the fourth level and leave it as an “amenity deck” for the apartments.

In terms of affordable housing, Stone House is analyzing financing options to increase the number of affordable units at 60% of the Dane County median income. The options are expected to be reviewed at the Oct. 7 Finance Committee meeting.

“There’s a goal that was stated on Sept. 3 to drive additional affordability into the project if we can, and they’re working on financing options,” Austin said.

The developer is also committed to scattering the affordable units throughout the building, which was a concern with the previous proposal from Gebhardt.

Lateral reinforcing walls may need to be constructed on the highest level of the podium, but it is not expected to affect the municipal garage below or the opening of the city’s garage. Stone House will be responsible for the cost of the podium modifications.

Stone House has committed to providing solar panels on the roof. The developer is also studying a green roof that would be partially or completely covered with vegetation and a blue roof, which is meant to store water.

The next update to the Finance Committee is Oct. 7. 

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