A proposal for a new hotel on Madison's south side will appear before the city’s Plan Commission tonight, but city staff is worried the design isn’t yet up to par.
Madison already has a Microtel Inn and Suites at 2139 East Springs Dr., and the proposal would build another location of the national chain in a vacant lot at 2810 Coho St., near the intersection of Fish Hatchery Road and the Beltline. The five-story building would host 112 rooms and about 95 surface parking spaces.
Microtel is part of Wyndham Worldwide, and the application states the project is a joint effort between Wyndham, Everbest Commercial Development, LLC, and the project owners. Microtel rooms aren’t necessarily smaller than other hotel rooms, but are known for their efficient use of space, said Pat Prabhu, director of engineering and construction management at Everbest.
Prabhu said the hotel plans to target millennials by providing a cafe in the lobby, access to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and shuttle services to destinations like the state Capitol, Epic Systems, Camp Randall Stadium and UW-Madison. Everbest developed a Days Inn and Suites in Milwaukee that Prabhu said serves many millennials.
The developer hopes to finish construction of the 57,000 square-foot building by the end of 2018. The $8 million project is expected to create between 25 and 30 full-time jobs.
The project site is south of the Beltline, and surrounded by multi-family residential buildings, condominiums and businesses including World Financial Group, Dungarvin Wisconsin, LLC, and Foster Funeral and Cremation services. City staff said a hotel would fit in with the neighborhood and comprehensive plans.
“However, staff does not believe that the proposed five-story building as submitted will create an environment of sustained aesthetic desirability,” the city report said.
City staff recommended that the project be referred to the city’s Urban Design Commission as the “physical design of the proposed hotel is critically important.”
Staff suggested adding more windows to the western facade of the building, creating a more distinct base, middle and top, and swapping out the currently proposed gable roof, which makes the building appear taller, for a flat roof.
Prabhu said he expected the design to be referred to the UDC, but that Monday night's meeting will highlight any concerns unrelated to design.
Ald. Sheri Carter said she hasn’t yet heard much neighborhood feedback on the project, but plans to hold an evening neighborhood meeting in the coming weeks, as well as a daytime meeting specifically for the surrounding businesses.
“I do like employment generators,” she said. “I just have to see where the neighborhood stands on this.”
Carter said she strongly felt the project would be referred to the UDC.
Also up for approval at Monday’s meeting is a proposed 161-unit apartment complex with commercial space at 131 S. Fair Oaks Ave., a proposal to rebuild a house for the Evan's Scholars Foundation at 141 Langdon St. and a proposal to install a cycling gym in the existing building at 1018 E. Washington Ave.