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Madison committee recommends developer for grocery store, housing project on South Side

Madison committee recommends developer for grocery store, housing project on South Side

Truman Olson proposal

An artist's rendering of Rule Enterprises' proposed $41.3 million project at the city of Madison-owned Truman Olson site on South Park Street. City staff and the Madison Finance Committee have recommended Rule over three other suitors to develop the vacant site.

Milwaukee developer Rule Enterprises is one step closer to being selected over three other suitors to build a grocery store and housing project on a city of Madison-owned lot on South Park Street.

At its meeting Monday, the Madison Finance Committee recommended the city pick Rule’s $41.3 million proposal for the vacant site largely because it provides the most promising timeline for avoiding a gap in grocery access on the South Side.

The Finance Committee also moved forward on a portion of the massive Judge Doyle Square project Downtown. On a voice vote, committee members recommended approval of a deal with Stone House Development to construct a $40 million apartment building on the block with the Madison Municipal Building.

The South Side development and the Judge Doyle Square agreement both still need City Council approval.

Rule’s plans for the South Park Street project include a first-phase $41.3 million, six-story building with a 30,000-square-foot grocery, 150 mixed-income housing units and a 345-space parking garage on the 3.5-acre site at 1402 S. Park St., which once held the now-demolished Truman Olson Army Reserve Center.

A five-story second phase, with no cost details, would have 80 housing units.

Three other proposals from Baehr Inc., Valeo and McShane Construction; Gorman & Co.; and Welton Enterprises also included grocery stores, housing projects and parking, but would be financed in different ways and run on different timelines. The teams had responded to a city request for proposals focused on creating a full-service grocery and extending Cedar Street though the Truman Olson site.

The new grocery store would take the place of the 1960s-era Pick ’n Save at 1312 S. Park St. that could close as soon as 2022 as part of a related development.

“I support the Rule proposal because that is our best bet at avoiding that gap (in grocery access,)” said Ald. Tag Evers, whose 13th District includes the site.

Brandon Rule, president of Rule Enterprises, said his project provides the shortest timeline for the grocery store. He said “there shouldn’t be a gap.”

City staff recommended that Rule meet a series of deadlines, including securing a grocer, by Jan. 16 or the city should move to negotiate with Gorman & Co., based in Oregon, which proposed a $22.8 million, five-story project including a 24,000-square-foot Maurer’s Market on the first floor, 93 mostly low-income housing units, 90 stalls of covered parking and 85 surface parking spaces.

Rule said he is in talks with a few grocers and expects to meet the city’s deadlines.

Judge Doyle Square

Also Monday, the Finance Committee recommended an agreement with Stone House that allows it to develop a nine-story structure above the city-owned parking garage that is nearing completion on the Municipal Building block.

The agreement would have Stone House buy commercial space on the first floor, above-ground parking called the Podium, and air rights so it can build the tower.

The building would provide 161 apartment units, about 40 of which would be lower-cost units restricted to residents who make less than 100% of Dane County’s median income.

Stone House is the third developer to negotiate with the city for rights to build above the Podium.

In other business, committee members:

  • Recommended awarding $500,000 from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund to the Salvation Army of Dane County to support the low-cost housing portion of a roughly $25 million expansion of the homeless shelter on East Washington Avenue. The Salvation Army still needs to raise millions, and maybe obtain additional financing, before construction would start on the redevelopment.
  • Recommended the city accept a $1.2 million federal grant for Madison and Dane County to start an initiative called Pathways to Recovery that will work to combat a deadly opioid abuse crisis in the area.Both those measures go to the City Council next.

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Emily Hamer is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She joined the paper in April 2019 and was formerly an investigative reporting intern at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

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