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Judge Doyle Square

Construction workers build the underground parking garage component of the Judge Doyle Square project. 

The city of Madison’s portion of the Judge Doyle Square project, taken over by the city about three weeks ago, will include apartments reserved for renters with low and moderate incomes, according to a measure seeking developers for the project that will be introduced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The city settled a dispute with Judge Doyle Square developer Beitler Real Estate Services of Chicago by agreeing on Jan. 8 to pay the firm $700,000 in exchange for development rights to the Downtown project in the block directly behind the Madison Municipal Building, among other terms. Now the city is looking for a developer for that portion of the project.

A resolution that would authorize a request for proposals from developers does not say specifically what proportion of the apartments on the site would be subject to rent and income restrictions, only that those restrictions make some apartments “affordable to low and moderate-income households.”

Those details would be provided by developers in their proposals, said Natalie Erdman, director of the city Department of Planning, Community & Economic Development.

“We’re looking for respondents to give us some idea what they think they can provide,” Erdman said Thursday.

Depending on the proposals, she said, some funding may be available to developers through the city Affordable Housing Fund or from the federal government.

Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, who is a co-sponsor of the resolution, said he has spoken to several local developers who have expressed interest in the project.

“I think that’s exciting,” he said.

The Downtown area “simply has a very short supply of affordable housing,” Verveer said. “The affordability component to the (request for proposals), I think, will be warmly received by my City Council colleagues.”

The requirements were put together by the city’s Judge Doyle Negotiating Team at the direction of Mayor Paul Soglin, the resolution states, in order to complete the privately developed portion of the Municipal Building block “as soon as possible.”

The request for proposals would also require that the building be compatible with surrounding buildings like the Municipal Building, a former federal courthouse and post office built in 1929. Beitler had at one point designed a building for the site that would be encased in a glass façade. The city suggested changes limiting the use of a glass façade.

Beitler is still set to build apartments and a hotel serving the Monona Terrace Convention Center on the block where the Government East parking ramp now stands.

The apartments sought in the city resolution would be built atop a city-owned underground parking garage that is now under construction, ground-level commercial space and two floors of private parking, collectively called the podium. The podium is expected to be finished in October. The underground parking garage is expected to open in August.

On Thursday, Madison received one bid on the podium portion of the project that came in nearly $1.5 million above what the city budgeted.

J.P. Cullen and Sons, which is currently building the public underground parking garage, submitted a bid of $7,941,377 to construct the podium. The city estimated the project would cost $6.5 million. Dave Schaller, the city construction manager for Judge Doyle Square, said city staff will meet Monday to discuss how to close the gap between the bid and estimated construction cost.

Beitler’s plans had called for nine stories of apartments above the podium, but the apartments would not have been subject to rent or income restrictions.

No tax incremental financing will be available for the development, according to the city’s request for proposal resolution.

It states that priority will be given to proposals that maximize the tax base and “have a straight-forward development framework that can be built in a timely manner.”

Developers can go ahead with the apartment project using a plan that has already received city zoning approval, the resolution states. Judge Doyle Square project manager George Austin said Thursday that developers wouldn’t be required to use it, “but it would be a quick way for them to get it built because they wouldn’t have to go through zoning changes.”

The resolution calls for the proposals to be requested in February, with a developer chosen in June. An agreement between the city and the developer would be signed in August.

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