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TIF approval pushes Near East Side housing project nearer to finish line
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TIF approval pushes Near East Side housing project nearer to finish line

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A proposal to build another large apartment building along the East Washington Avenue corridor will move forward, with the help of a city financing tool.

Stone House Development’s as yet unnamed project won the Madison Board of Estimates’ approval Monday for $3.45 million in tax incremental financing (TIF) even though the location is just outside the city’s TIF districts.

The project, slated for the 1000 block of East Washington Avenue, would add another tower to the popular Near East Side locale, already home to the Constellation and Galaxie luxury apartments.

In addition to upscale housing, Stone House’s project includes 55 lower-cost units.

The developers would demolish the vacant Madison Dairy Produce and Straus Printing buildings and construct an 11-story building with 140 market-rate apartments, 50,000 square feet of office space, 15,000 square feet for retail businesses and 368 parking stalls.

A four-story adjacent building along Mifflin Street will offer 65 apartments, 55 of them at lower rents.

Nine of the units will be designated for homeless families working with The Road Home nonprofit group and eight for veterans who need social service assistance.

Using TIF, the city will allocate $3.45 million to help with construction costs with the expectation of getting repaid later in property taxes the developer will pay when the project is complete.

“It’s a pretty strong application,” Madison TIF coordinator Joe Gromacki told the city panel.

Stone House co-founder Rich Arnesen said the total project will cost more than $40 million.

The TIF funding was “crucial,” he said. “It is harder and harder every year to try to put one of these affordable housing projects together. We have to scramble for every dollar,” Arnesen said.

On Wednesday, the Urban Design Commission is slated to vote on the project, based on its aesthetics. That’s expected to be the final city approval needed, Arnesen said.

He said construction of the 11-story tower could begin this spring and the affordable housing could break ground this fall, with occupancy expected in 2017.

The project also has been approved for $1 million from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund.

In other action, the Board of Estimates — the city’s finance panel — approved:

  • Spending $2.1 million for RNL Design to design a multipurpose city building to house the city’s Fleet Services and traffic engineering radio shop on Nakoosa Trail.
  • Issuing a request for services to design a 650-stall parking facility at East Main and South Livingston streets to serve the neighborhood and the planned StartingBlock entrepreneurial hub.
  • Leasing space at 30 W. Mifflin St. and 126 S. Hamilton St. for the temporary relocation of city employees who work at the Madison Municipal Building during the building’s planned renovation.

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