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New grocery store signs on for east side development

Published On: Jan 15 2014 10:09:20 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 16 2014 09:17:16 AM CST

Proposed development in 800 block of East Washington Avenue

MADISON, Wis. -

A new plan is in place for a development for apartments and a grocery store on Madison's east side.

The project, located in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, used to be the home to Occupy Madison.

Gebhardt development was unable to make a deal with Metcalfe's Market for a grocery store at the site earlier this year and now a new store has been chosen.

Festival Foods will be opening their first store in Madison. They're already in La Crosse, Eau Claire and Green Bay with 18 stores throughout the state. The hope is this new store is just what the neighborhood needs.

When it comes to grocery shopping, there are no shortages of options in Madison and now residents can add Festival Foods to the list.

"They started in La Crosse, moved across the state to the Green Bay area, now this move into Madison and Fort Atkinson is a big jump up for them and represents their continued ability to grow," said Brandon Scholz, the president and CEO of Wisconsin's Grocers Association.

Scholz said Festival Foods did its homework and can compete in Madison and Fort Atkinson.

"If you look at their stores in other parts of the state they have a second floor community room, huge delis, a play area for the kids. They all try to find something a little different," Scholz said.

"It looks like it's a really good fit," Madison alder Ladell Zellers said. "I mean, there really isn't a lot that is within an easy walking distance of that neighborhood. To have something what looks to be this good, so close, I think people are pretty excited."

Zellers said with Festival Foods now in, the $65 million project will go forward.

"The reaction seems to be, 'Go for it,' so I am satisfied and the neighborhood is satisfied that we have a good project," Zellers said.

Zellers admits she had never heard of Festival Foods before they joined the development project but believes the store will cater to the neighborhood.

Details are still being finalized for the project but the hope is to break ground this spring.

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