Madison committee to look at student housing
Stadium Bar proposal met with very mixed feelings
Madison city alder Scott Resnick, representing District 8, said there is a committee looking into the need for high-rise student housing around the city and the impact of those residences on surrounding neighborhoods.
As discussions continue about potential redevelopment of the Stadium Bar property on Monroe Street, Resnick said the city continues to look at housing markets and how many student apartments may be too many around town. Resnick adds that students are often looking to be close to campus no matter the cost.
"There is still demand to live close by campus, and sometimes pay higher rates to live close by campus," Resnick explained.
Stadium Bar general manager Tom Harberg doesn’t want to see his bar go.
"I kind of think the restaurant is one of the ideal things for this area," Harberg said.
A Minneapolis-based developer called the Opus Group is proposing to build a multi-story apartment complex with a floor of commercial space and underground parking. Harberg said while redeveloping the property could be a good business move for the owners, he said his successful bar should not make way for housing that might not be necessary.
"Do we oversaturate a market at the expense of successful businesses?" Harberg asked.
Students living nearby have mixed feeling on the plans.
"Putting student housing there would be not very beneficial," Cody Hoernagn said.
Hoernagn lives right across from the Stadium and said having another 100 rooms available close to campus would make little difference.
"I don't think it's worth it at all,” Hoernagn said.
Others, like neighbor Matt Engmann, disagree. He wouldn’t mind seeing more student housing close to his and close to class.
"It is nice to have housing a lot closer to campus. It makes things easier," Engmann said.
Engmann said he understands both sides of any debate over what should be done with the land.
"There's not that many bars around here, but at the same time, there's not that much housing around here either," Engmann explained, 'so it's kind of a trade off, you know. You give a little, you get a little."
There were no signs of the news affecting business at the Stadium Bar Saturday night, as Badger fans packed in to watch the Big Ten Championship. Harberg said it’s business as usual for him and his staff until any plans are finalized.
"I'm choosing to focus in on all of the positives that could potentially come of this for the Stadium Bar's future," Harberg said.
Harberg mentioned the commercial space in the new development could be transformed into a new version of the Stadium Bar, if that proposal is approved and accepted by the city and the building’s owners.
There is a public meeting on the proposal set for December 6 at Union South starting at 6 p.m.
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