A private consultant on Wednesday shared a series of concepts to better use space inside and between the aging and energy-inefficient Madison Municipal and City-County buildings that face the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The four main concepts all rearrange city offices in the structures to better serve the public and staff “through a “one-stop shop” approach where people would go to large service counters for most services, and all remove traffic from the street to create a more attractive, vibrant and usable public space.
The options preserve and restore historic elements of the landmark Municipal Building, including its exterior, the first-floor corridor, and the second-floor courtroom now called Room 260.
They also create new civic spaces, bring energy efficiencies and deliver updates expected in a 21st-century office environment.
Mayor Paul Soglin has proposed spending $30 million over five years to re-establish the building as a “healthy, productive and pleasant environment both inside and out.”
The city is also mulling a larger redevelopment of the remaining block behind it — including a hotel to serve Monona Terrace — and the aging Government East parking garage across the street.
Two of the options for relocating city services would require constructing new offices behind the municipal building and assume no hotel there but do not preclude one.
The consultant, MSR Design of Minneapolis, which helped the city with the much-praised Central Library renovation, sought feedback from Soglin, the City Council and others Wednesday as it prepares to add cost estimates to a final report and recommendations that will be completed later this year.
The mayor still needs “a lot more information about alternatives and costs,” Soglin aide Anne Monks said.
MSR has already spent months with officials, staff and the public to learn more about needs and opportunities.
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“We have talked to a lot of people,” MSR principal Traci Engel Lesneski said. “We know the recipe of a building and now we’re looking into how to put it together.”
The options all consolidate the current mishmash of public service access points to only three, with a cluster for administrative functions and another for police, the municipal court and public health.
The four concepts would:
• Keep county and city operations in the City-County Building, but relocate city agencies between the two buildings.
• Move the county from the first floor of the City-County Building and relocate city agencies between the two buildings.
• Move all city agencies from the City County-Building to the municipal building and build an office addition behind it.
• Leave only the Police Department in the City-County Building and consolidate other city agencies in the municipal building with a smaller addition behind it.
Council members had questions about the options, especially the interest and role of the county, which owns 60 percent of the City-County Building.
MSR has had some contact with the county, but so far, the firm has largely explored the highest aspirations for the buildings without limits of cost or ownership, Lesneski said.