A revised development agreement for the Exact Sciences Corp. and Judge Doyle Square project will go before Madison’s finance committee Monday, hammering out details and meeting the next deadline in the project’s rapid progression.
The city signed a preliminary development agreement with JDS Development in July for the major hotel and parking project that would bring biotech company Exact Sciences downtown. This agreement now delves deeper into details like parking and transportation, diverse workforce goals for construction, a Project Labor Agreement and a commitment from Exact Sciences to partner with the Urban League of Greater Madison for diverse hiring.
“Continuing negotiations the council authorized in July have allowed us to dig into a number of issues with a lot more granularity,” said project manager George Austin.
Among the most significant transportation elements, JDS Development has agreed to charge all private parking users a commercially reasonable parking rent, including Exact Sciences. That marks a shift from previous discussions in which Exact Sciences would not have paid for parking use.
Exact Sciences will initially lease between 324 and 370 spaces, paying between $21,600 and $24,667 annually for its stalls. It will be able to lease additional stalls at commercial market rates. Exact Sciences spokesman J.P. Fielder could not immediately be reached for comment.
Exact Sciences also provided a summary of potential traffic demand management actions at the request of the city, including promoting the Commute Card Program in partnership with Madison Metro and offering employees the financial incentive of “cashing out” their parking spot if using other means of transportation. The company will designate a “transportation coordinator” at its new facilities to ensure employee education, facilitate a ride-share program and emphasize other alternatives to driving.
“Other than the support for parking facilities, the additional transportation demand management issues had not been addressed in the previous agreement,” Austin said. “That was an area that the City Council wanted the negotiating team to spend time on, and we were able to do so.”
The parking and transportation details also outline strategies to deal with the loss of the Government East parking ramp during construction, financial impacts on the parking utility and an in-progress redesign of the parking ramp to improve efficiency and access. At a recent Transit and Parking Commission meeting, Assistant Parking Utility Manager Scott Lee said they’ve made progress on the ramp but still have a ways to go.
“While that design discussion continues, there’s been progress made there in response to the city’s requests,” Austin said.
The overall financial and land use terms for the project remain the same with this agreement. The city’s entire financial contribution to the project comes in at $67 million, about a third of the total $200 million project cost.
The city's contribution will go toward private parking, public parking and the Exact Sciences building.
Part of the city’s funding — $12 million — will be in the form of jobs-based tax increment financing for Exact Sciences. The financing requires Exact Sciences to create 300 living wage jobs in Madison by July 1, 2017, growing to 400 jobs by Jan. 1, 2019. Those elements are the same as the preliminary agreement, but this agreement details an oversight mechanism to ensure Exact Sciences’ requirements are met, including certification by Exact Sciences, on-site review of the payroll report by the city and preparation of an audit report.
The agreement also outlines the bicycle center, which will occupy 2,790 square feet on East Doty Street, and settles on 216 rooms for the hotel, instead of the previous range of 210-250. The original request for proposals had pushed for 250 rooms, but Austin said the developer is not sure they will be able to meet that goal.
“We think that as the design process proceeds and they get into more detail with the design that they’ll be able to capture more rooms and make the hotel larger than 216, but we’re not sure that they will get to 250,” Austin said.
The most significant remaining pieces yet to be determined are the labor peace agreement and a reacquisition agreement for the hotel and office expansion area if those elements don’t proceed as planned.
“We’ve made, I think, a lot of progress in clarifying and bringing forth solutions for the City Council’s consideration,” Austin said.
The Board of Estimates will take up the agreement on Monday. If approved, it will go before the full City Council Sept. 1. After that, the project would advance into detailed agreements and the land use process.
“It’s just kind of narrowing,” Austin said. “It keeps chipping away at things until you get to the closing.”