City council eyes vacant home for commercial-residential use
By Michael Prochaska
A residential area known as the Canaan Historic Neighborhood in Districts 1 and 2 of Madison could acquire community services, such as a food pantry or drycleaners, city council members discussed Monday at a work session.
The council will review next month whether to purchase a vacant house on the corner Burney and Fifth streets for $87,500 to lease as multi-purpose commercial and residential building. If the city decides to purchase the building, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) would manage the property, according to DDA Chair Shandon Land.
Land said the upstairs of the house could contain two apartments, one a one-bedroom or studio apartment and the other a two-bedroom unit. Rent could be around $400, she said.
The bottom floor could house several commercial enterprises, the most desired service being a small food store. Land said that after council members Fred Perriman and Michael Naples held several town hall meetings, residents requested a place to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Although neither of the two council members were present at Monday’s meeting, City Planning Director Monica Callahan spoke on behalf of Perriman and said that he has asked that the proposed store would not sell alcohol, a stipulation that can be incorporated into the leasing agreement, she said.
Another small, pink building on the lot could also service a wing or barbecue restaurant, Land said.
The DDA would most likely partner with a real estate agency to help with the tenancy and maintenance of the building, as it would be the first property managed by the DDA, Land said.
“We’ve never done that before (managed property), but when we go to conferences and meet other DDAs, some other DDAs do manage properties, so we would like to take a crack at it,” she said. “I feel we have the skillset to put the ball into action.”
City Manager David Nunn said the city’s role would be limited but would help with the purchase of the property.
“It’s a good property at a good price, and it’s in good shape,” he said.
The council agreed to extend a deadline to finalize on the property, with the majority of council members in favor of the project.
“This is the kind of thing our city council could look at further [in the future],” said Councilman Joe DiLetto.
Printed in the August 30, 2012 edition