The Madison Board of Parks Commissioners may recommend the city spend $1.6 million on environmental remediation efforts for the Garver Feed Mill site, bringing the possible taxpayer cost of the site’s redevelopment to more than $3.5 million.
The redevelopment of the Garver Feed Mill, 109 S. Fair Oaks Ave., has been delayed several times in the past years, with the recent stall coming after a significant amount of contaminated soil was found at the site.
The money would be in addition to the $1.95 million to help developers, Baum Development, turn the landmark site into an artisan food production facility and add “microlodging” short-term rental units on the surrounding 5 acres. The total cost of the project is estimated around $20 million.
If the board votes to recommend the increase, it would then go before the City Council, where it will take a supermajority vote to pass.
City Council President Ald. Marsha Rummel, who represents the 6th district in which the Garver property is located, said she was encouraged by comments Ald. Sara Eskrich, 13th District, made at last week’s Finance Committee meeting, where Eskrich said the city has always clearly maintained that it was responsible for the land.
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“Who wants to spend more money?” Rummel said. “But we do have an obligation to take care of the property and do what we need to do. I’m hopeful that my colleagues will support it.”
Attached to the budget amendment is a tentative agreement between the city and Baum that covers the final details on financing, ground leases, sale of the Garver building and a lease back to the city of a to-be-built cold storage building.
Baum was chosen to redevelop the site in April 2015, and since then, the city has extended several deadlines to secure funding and meet other milestones for the project. If the tentative agreement passes, the city could act on it this summer.
“I’m kind of excited it’s moving forward,” Rummel said. “It seems like it’s been such a slow process to get all the pieces together. We’re looking forward to fixing up this beautiful old building and seeing it have new life for another generation.”
State Journal reporter Dean Mosiman contributed to this report.