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HotelRED rendering

The Madison Plan Commission granted a permit for HotelRED, 1501 Monroe St., to add three floors and 39 hotel rooms after a previous proposal was denied in March.

After previously being denied, HotelRED was granted approval Monday to expand its Near West Side boutique hotel.

The Madison Plan Commission voted in favor of a conditional use permit for HotelRED's plan to add three floors and 39 rooms to the four-story, 48-room building at the intersection of Monroe and Regent streets — despite a recommendation from the city's Planning Division to deny the permit.

Bradley Cantrell was the only audible opponent on a voice vote.

In March, commission members were not satisfied with a proposal to make the hotel at 1501 Monroe St. eight stories tall and voted unanimously to deny the request.

Objections from the commission, city staff and neighbors largely related to the proposal's height and mass not complying with city and Monroe Street development plans.

But the elimination of the eighth story dropped the structure between 13 feet and 20 feet at various points. The plan also sets back the upper levels on the Monroe Street side to reduce the building's mass from street level.

Several commission members said that the building location, across from UW-Madison's Field House and Camp Randall Stadium, is in an acceptable place to add more height and density.

"There are some warranted concerns with the height, but I really am swayed by the fact this is a special intersection," said Ald. Steve King.

Work on the expansion is set to begin in fall. Hotel rooms will be added on the fifth and sixth floors with event space, a lounge and two decks on a seventh floor.

Supporters of the expansion said it is needed to make the business more sustainable, and the hotel benefits the shops and restaurants along Monroe and Regent streets.

"While Monroe Street is a traditional shopping street, this particular location is not," said Alan Fish, a former UW-Madison administrator representing the HotelRED group. "This space is large enough to accommodate large buildings, and in fact, it already does with the Field House."

Several neighbors living in the immediate residential streets surrounding HotelRED spoke in opposition.

Fraser Gurd, a Vilas Neighborhood resident, said he's concerned the rooftop balconies could bring more noise and argued the building should stick with what the area plans have dictated is an acceptable height for the land.

"I understand that it benefits the developer, but I don't see that it benefits the neighborhood," Gurd said.

As part of the approval, the commission attached requirements that HotelRED work with city staff on previous design recommendations and noise reducing features.

The Plan Commission also approved a two-story building in Downtown to add four floors.

The existing 11,200-square-foot retail building at 668 State Street was granted a permit to build the floors containing 24 apartment units. A UW Credit Union branch and Browzer Bookshop are the current tenants.

Commission members attached five conditions to the approval.

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