Redevelopment in the works for Canaan Corner Store

Tia Lynn Ivey Law Enforcement

The Canaan Corner Store has closed, but a new beginning is on the horizon.

Seven applications interested in setting up shop in the Canaan Corner Store, have poured in to the Downtown Development Authority for review.

According to Monica Callahan, not all the applications are seeking to open a convenience store.

“Two of the applications are for restaurants,” said Callahan at Thursday’s Madison Mayor and City Council work session. “The others are for store-oriented businesses. Two of the applications are from people who live in that neighborhood so this could be a real opportunity for someone.”

“That’s great that so many people are interested,” said Councilwoman Chris Hodges.

The Canaan Corner Store, located on Burney Street, is a redevelopment project of Madison’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

The project aimed to revamp and reopen a long-gone corner store where an iconic pink building stood. Just one year later, the store closed.

After five years of planning and grant work, the store opened with much community excitement in July of 2017. The project aimed to bring groceries and other household items back into the Canaan Community.

The store was owned by Rita and Henry Harris, with investor Marilyn Williams. “The Downtown Development Authority would like to thank Rita and Henry Harris and Marilyn Williams for their investment into the Canaan Corner Store,” said a press release from the DDA. “The Harris’ have decided to pursue different options and for a limited time will consider the sale of their business, complete with the all the equipment and furnishings.”

According to Callahan, the DDA is in the process of reviewing the applications and will make a decision in coming months on who will be the next resident in the Canaan Corner Store. While the previous tenants, Rita and Henry Harris, secured a beer and wine license to sell alcohol out of the store. However, the new tenant will not automatically be granted that license and will have to go through the same process the Harris’ went through.

“The DDA is not obligated to approve it again,” warned Callahan, who noted approval was up to their discretion as landlords.

“We are excited to see what’s next for the Canaan Corner Store,” said Callahan, who noted the amount of work the City has put into the site.

In 2012, The City of Madison selected the location for redevelopment to recreate a corner store for the local Canaan neighborhood. Madison Mayor Fred Perriman had fond memories of the original corner store that existed there when he was growing up in town.

In 2015, the city was given a Redevelopment Fund Grant in the amount of $101,000 to demolish the old pink building and rebuild a new, modern corner store.

“This is all part of our efforts to revitalize the Canaan District,” said Perriman last year about the project. “It’s a great opportunity. I think it will be good to have a store back in the Canaan area once again, when I was in high school it was very well utilized and it brings excitement back to the community.”

The DDA has pledged to limit any future uses of the building to businesses that fit the City’s original vision for the site. The City of Madison leaders have long hoped that helping to establish a convenient corner shop would once again give local residents easy access to groceries and household products. Madison’s Downtown Development Authority was a key component to securing the store’s future, which identified the location to receive redevelopment funds.

“The store was prioritized to bring groceries and convenience items back to a section of the city which is geographically isolated and foot traffic oriented,” said a press release from the City of Madison in 2017.

According to the release, “DDA prioritized this type of project and funding source because of the win–win–win potential. A neighborhood is improved by the removal of a vacant eyesore, and modest households benefit from having convenience items within walking distance; the DDA executes one part of the Urban Redevelopment Plan, which works best when a multifaceted and layered approach is implemented…”

The DDA will review the applications submitted and chose the applicant they believe is best suited to take on the Canaan Corner Store.

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