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Developer wins approvals to raze church, historic building for Regent Street project

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Planned redevelopment

The proposed 10-story project with housing and commercial space at the corner of Park and Regent streets won city approvals this week.

A developer has won city approvals to raze a small church, a former Italian deli, two houses and Buckingham’s Bar and Grill — a historic building — for a 10-story structure with housing, commercial space and parking on the 800 block of Regent Street.

The Plan Commission on Monday voted unanimously to approve CRG Acquisition of Chicago’s proposal to remove all buildings on a rectangular strip of land between North Park Street and the East Campus Mall. The project only needs City Council approval of a certified survey map, which is considered noncontroversial.

The redevelopment includes 178 apartments, 3,000 square feet of neighborhood-oriented commercial space, underground parking and bike storage, and a 1,500-square-foot outdoor area on the ninth floor.

The site includes Faith Community Bible Church, 826 Regent St., a one-story structure built in 1971 and renovated in 1996; a former location of Fraboni’s Italian Specialties and Delicatessen, 822 Regent St., which closed after 47 years in 2018 and consolidated with its store in Monona; rental houses at 816 and 818 Regent St.; and Buckingham’s, 802 Regent St., built in 1923 and renovated in 2000.

The Buckingham’s building, originally the Ben DiSalvo and Sons Grocery Store, is one of the few remaining structures in the historic Greenbush neighborhood connected with its once-bustling Italian population. Many of the surrounding buildings were razed amid national urban renewal efforts in the 1960s.

CRG recognizes the importance of the block and intends to incorporate elements of public art including a historic mural and timeline graphic to acknowledge the history of the site, vice president for design and development Alison Mills told the commission.

“We heard many stories from the neighborhood,” she said. “There’s a big story from the neighborhood we want to tell.”

“Generally, commissioners found that the proposal met the demolition standards — and some were particularly impressed with the commitment on the part of the developer to incorporate a mural relating to the history of this part of Madison,” city Planning Division director Heather Stouder said later.

CRG intends to begin construction in the fall and open the building in 2024, according to a letter of intent.

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