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AC Hotel Madison

Ground was broken Wednesday for the 164-room AC Hotel Madison at One North Webster at the site of the former Pahl Tire Co. just off the Capitol Square. The hotel adds to the continued development along the East Washington Avenue corridor.

A revised proposal for a large Downtown hotel gained City Council approval amid criticism from historic preservationists and Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts.

Council members voted 13-7 Tuesday night to approve North Central Group’s plan for a 164-room Marriott AC hotel just off Capitol Square at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Webster Street.

The plan was the second version after the city’s Plan Commission rejected the original proposal in September in a 5-4 decision.

The commission raised concerns about height, shadows, valet parking, a requested easement along Webster Street, and the building’s relation to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robert M. Lamp House, 22 N. Butler St.

After three months, North Central Group submitted revised plans to the city.

Opponents of the project at Tuesday night’s meeting raised concerns about the planned 10-story hotel’s cumulative impact on sunlight and views from the roof of the Lamp House. The landmark mid-block home is considered significant to Wright enthusiasts and heritage tourism.

In 2013, the city began a separate planning effort for the block containing the Lamp House and in early 2014, the city adopted a report on the block filled with recommendations on how to allow development around the house.

Zoning allows for eight and six stories on parts of the site, but the city can award additional floors for employing “exemplary design” and meeting other standards.

“I can’t vote for this because I don’t think it meets the expectations set forth in those plans, particularly as it relates to the Lamp House,” said Ald. Lisa Subeck, 1st District. “We value the Lamp House enough that we put together that study committee.”

Also on Tuesday, the council voted on its consent agenda to issue a request for proposals to lure a full-service grocery store to serve the Allied Drive neighborhood.

The city is offering up to $300,000 in financing because the neighborhood has had no nearby full-service store since a Cub Foods off Verona Road closed in 2009, and a Walgreens drugstore that had limited food offerings shuttered at the end of December.

The council also voted to direct the city to vote in favor of renewable energy initiatives with its two shares of Madison Gas & Electric stock.

[Editor's note: This story has edited to correct the landmark status of the Lamp House.]  

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