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Plan Commission set to take up 10-story East Washington apartment building

Plan Commission set to take up 10-story East Washington apartment building

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An architectural rendering of The Continental, a 10-story apartment building slated for 414 E. Washington Ave.

A major downtown Madison project is moving full steam ahead in the approval process despite concerns from many neighborhood residents.

On Monday, the Plan Commission will potentially approve permits for demolition and conditional use for The Continental, a building proposed for 402 to 414 East Washington Ave., by local developers LZ Ventures.

Under the proposal, seven structures (including residential houses) would be demolished and a 10-story, 156-unit apartment building with 3,300 square feet of commercial space would be built on the site.

Some houses date to the late 1800s.

The apartment building would include two-and-a-half levels of underground parking as well.

The project was approved by a 5-2 vote at the Urban Design Commission on July 1, but several neighborhood residents spoke in opposition to the project during the meeting.

A steering committee has been meeting to discuss the project and some residents are concerned that the project isn’t a good fit with the block, which currently houses a Klinke Cleaners.

“The large majority of those who have participated in the steering committee process are opposed to the proposal,” a draft of the steering committee report sent to Plan Commission states, before adding that only “a handful of people have expressed their support.”

Some of the primary issues, according to the steering committee:

• Doesn’t integrate with the James Madison Park Neighborhood.

• Should be reviewed with respect to its existing context, not to a hypothetical neighborhood that might exist in 20 or 30 years.

• Traffic study should first be completed before approval.

• The height of the building casts an unacceptable shadow on neighboring homes.

• Removal of affordable housing downtown (via the demolition) is not in the interest of the city or the neighborhood.

The proposed apartment building would include 39 efficiencies, 73 one-bedroom units, 4 one-bedroom with a den units and 40 two-bedroom units, all ranging in size from 500 to 1,800 square feet.

Dry cleaning operations have resulted in the solvent PCE (perchloroethylene) contaminating soil beneath the site. According to a letter of intent document submitted to city staff by the development team, the redevelopment of that site will have to meet current environmental standards.

The Plan Commission will also consider the redevelopment of the VFW property at 133 E. Lakeside St. The VFW has decided to sell the property.

Under that proposal, the development team of Avante Properties would construct a four- to five-story building with 104 apartment units and 3,150 square feet of commercial space, along with surface parking for 8 vehicles.

The proposal would include the demolition of the current VFW and the commercial space would be used for a future restaurant featuring outdoor seating.

A revised proposal for the Hub II has been referred to the July 27 meeting of the Plan Commission, at the request of the development team. The student apartment building has been a controversial proposal for 126 Langdon St.

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