West Washington development gathering momentum

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By Nick Nunn staff writer

Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan stated that engineering plans are ongoing for the Anchorage, a planned 34-unit residential development in the West Washington Street Gateway, which is part of the Downtown Development Authority’s (DDA) Urban Redevelopment Area. According to Downtown Urban Redevelopment Area Annual Report, the Anchorage is a public-private partnership between Sandy Sanford and the DDA, which will develop “alternate housing forms for diversity in local residential housing stock and proximate downtown living.”

Callahan stated that zoning has been approved for the development, and that Sanford will begin by constructing five new dwelling units, while “filling out” the existing houses. She said that the DDA will be having a first reading of the construction plans soon and anticipates that the dwellings “are going to sell like hotcakes.” Callahan also recognized Sanford’s willingness to work with the DDA on the project, stating that “he has been an excellent neighbor.”

Callahan stated that the Community Development Block Grant for stormwater improvements in the Canaan area had been signed and was complete. The $500,000 grant, which will provide most of the funding for the $680,000 project, was granted in September of 2012 but was held up at the state level until recently. The project should be complete by September 2014.

She also made the DDA members aware of the April 1 deadline for applying for a separate Community Development Block Grant to promote a housing rehabilitation investment program in the Canaan neighborhood. Callahan acknowledged that there is only a “short time frame” between now and the deadline, but that completing the application is “accomplishable.”

For the purpose of the program, the DDA would partner with the City of Madison, which would provide grant-writing, pre-inspection, and grant submittal assistance. The program would “address dilapidated housing conditions” in the Canaan neighborhood by selecting eight to 10 houses for rehabilitation after eligible private owners and landlords of rental properties were identified.

Callahan said part of the DDA’s short-term work program includes creating literature outlining the DDA’s projects and objectives in order to inform the community and possible investors about the DDA. DDA Member Mike Torino indicated that such literature will be useful to the DDA. He said that many people that he has spoken to about the authority do not understand what the DDA does. Callahan said that the informational material will include both the basics of what the DDA does and will “showcase” the DDA’s former and current projects.

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