housing 1230

Continuing a trend, a developer is proposing to demolish older student housing and replace it with two housing towers near UW-Madison.

Otto Gebhardt III hopes to demolish rental houses at 1208, 1212 and 1214 Spring St. to erect a 10-story, 92-unit apartment building designed to meet the needs of older and graduate students.

Across the street, Gebhardt would demolish a rental house at 45 N. Orchard St. for a nine-story, 62-unit apartment building aimed at the same market.

The proposal would take obsolete structures with a total 80 rental units and replace them with energy-efficient buildings with nearly double the apartments, Gebhardt said.

"The buildings have outlived their usefulness and are in pretty bad shape," he said. "To put money into them to rejuvenate them would be a bad use of resources. We think it would be a better use of these properties."

Ald. Bryon Eagon, 8th District, who represents the area, said the proposals are "interesting" and potentially an "exciting investment in the student residential community."

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Eagon said he's heard no concerns so far but will be sensitive to issues of height and massing.

The neighborhood is a mix of university properties, including the towering Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Building and Charter Street Heating and Cooling Plant, and private rental housing, much of it older and two or three stories tall.

The buildings' design, Gebhardt said, will resemble his nearby, seven-story Park Terrace West apartments at Spring and Randall streets, built in 2004, which taper back from the street on upper floors and have balconies and other features.

The new buildings will feature a mix of unit sizes with laundry and vending facilities on each floor. They will also have roof decks, wireless internet and passive solar elements, plus covered parking for cars and spaces for bicycles and motor scooters.

If approvals are secured, demolition could begin in August with the project completed a year later, Gebhardt said.

Gebhardt will make a presentation to the city's Urban Design Commission at 7:20 p.m. on Jan. 6.

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