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Plans for 800 block of East Washington shared

Published On: Mar 13 2013 07:48:39 AM CDT   Updated On: Mar 15 2013 12:05:04 PM CDT
Proposed development for the 800 block of East Washington Avenue

Proposed development for the 800 block of East Washington Avenue

MADISON, Wis -

Fewer than 10 people signed up to speak at a public hearing on the development future of prime -- but vacant -- real estate near downtown Madison.

Three developers have submitted proposals for mixed-use buildings on the former Don Miller body shop site in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue.

The developers are Gebhardt of Madison, T. Wall Enterprises of Middleton, and C.D. Smith of Fond du Lac. All have proposed office or retail space, a grocery store, and at least 200 apartment units.

C.D. Smith's plan includes the most area for commercial space.

Gebhardt's plan, which includes the largest grocery store -- a Metcalfe's Market -- is also the tallest. T. Wall has submitted a plan for a much shorter structure, still with 288 residential units, according to company officials.

But three neighbors said they preferred a high-rise building with more units.

"You have an opportunity for height in an environment where it works," said Burt Stitt, who said he's lived downtown for 25 years. "You're looking at low-rise. I think this is an error."

Other neighbors said they had concerns about maintaining the Mifflin Street bike boulevard and whether the developers could follow through on their promise of affordable housing.

All three development teams attended Tuesday's hearing, although city alders on the 800 Block Redevelopment Committee didn't ask them to make presentations.

"We're going to propose a project that meets and exceeds a lot of the visions you're seeing here," said Kirk Keller, an architect representing T. Wall Enterprises.

C.D. Smith's team answered questions about it being the only developer from outside the Madison area.

"No matter where we work, when we come into a community, we strive to work with local subcontractors and local suppliers," said Mike Krawchuk of CD Smith Construction.

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