By Patrick Yost
The city of Madison’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Thursday held a open “Lunch and Learn” meeting for local developers, bankers and real estate professionals to share the DDA’s vision of the ambitious West Washington Street Gateway Project.
The project, once completed, involves a radical transformation of the West Washington Street entrance to Madison. According to Monica Callahan, senior planner, city of Madison Planning and Development Department, the 40 acre project, which included removal of the current EZ Bottle liquor store and turning that area into “Clark Park,” will eventually be the preferred entrance into Madison.
“This is currently one of three entrances to the Historic District in Madison and is the most unattractive. When we get done, it’s going to be the most attractive.”
According to DDA Chairman Ed Latham, the project, once completed, will add more than $10 million to the city in value. The project, which includes the park, also is anchored, in part, by renovation of the train depot. The depot project, which is currently underway, is a “catalyst project.” “This is supposed to inspire others.”
Latham also suggested the entrance would become preferred. “Two to three years from now when you bring a client to Madison,” he told the realtors. “you’ll want to bring them into town through this corridor.”
The vast project will also include the inclusion of several mixed-use areas that would include retail and residential spaces as well as greenspace.
Callahan compared the scope of the project to the ambitious Town Park project that was completed in 2009. “We’re going to hope we do something like that with the gateway.”
The DDA disseminated projected prices for the realtors and developers for various aspects of the project. She also implored the group to have vision in the project, like Town Park. “I need you to help me to get people to get it,” she said.
“We want our tax base to go from $2.3 million to $15 million but we think it will go higher than that,” Callahan said.
For a detailed explanation of the project, go to the city of Madison’s web page.