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Study suggests new, large hotel for downtown Madison

Published On: Jan 13 2013 11:51:23 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 13 2013 11:58:43 PM CST

A new study is backing up a plan to revamp downtown Madison.

The study claims that Madison is losing out on business because the city doesn't have enough hotel rooms around the Monona Terrace Convention Center.

City staff have long been looking at a development on Judge Doyle Square, which is just a block from Monona Terrace and just a couple of blocks from the State Capitol.

But the project could require $25-$50 million in public financing.

A scary figure perhaps, but many, like Tom Dufek of the Merchant restaurant on South Pinckney Street, say the potential benefits to the Monona Terrace and downtown businesses are too good to pass up.

Dufek has a front row seat to all that downtown Madison has to offer, even though he says his view is somewhat spoiled by a parking structure across the street.

A hotel would certainly bring a new perspective to the area, and more importantly, the capacity for many out-of-town visitors looking for a meal.

"I was more excited about it, and more like, that's absolutely something that would be great for this community," said Dufek about plans for a new hotel.

City leaders are most concerned about the Monona Terrace, saying that it is losing out on convention business because the Hilton is the only hotel in the immediate area, and it doesn't house enough beds.

If that's going to change, city development leaders say they've got one option and it's at Judge Doyle Square. It's now a surface parking lot and a short parking garage.

It's the only option because every other parcel of land within walking distance of Monona Terrace is developed already.

That surface lot and the parking garage go along with the Madison Municipal Building of structures in the area up for redevelopment.

A Chicago firm has done a study that suggests a new hotel with at least 400 to 500 rooms.

The study suggests there's enough demand for a new hotel and other downtown hotels to do well.

Although it remains to be seen how other hotels feel about the potential competition.

A city committee will get its first look at the proposal Monday.

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