City, developer won’t pursue East Washington Ave. plan
City officials evaluate options, potential alternatives for site
MADISON, Wis. — The city of Madison and a developer have mutually decided not to further pursue a plan for a major redevelopment project on East Washington Avenue.
The city was negotiating with Madison-based developer Urban Land Interests on the sale and purchase of the 800 block of the former Don Miller property on East Washington Avenue.
ULI had proposed a development of two commercial buildings, an apartment building and a parking ramp to serve the commercial buildings. But the city decided the increased tax revenue wasn’t enough to justify public financing of the ramp.
“It’s a shame,” ULI owner Brad Binkowski said. “We think it certainly would’ve done a lot for people looking to have good creative jobs on East Washington Avenue.”
On May 22, the city and ULI entered into a purchase and sale agreement, which contained a public financing contingency to address the incorporation of a significant parking structure on the site.
City officials, in a news release, said they would look for a larger development proposal for the site.
The delay doesn’t bother Bridget Maniaci, the Madison alderwoman whose district includes the property.
“I think my neighborhood has been quite clear in what they’d like to see,” she said. “Something that fits with a neighborhood at all times of day, not something that shuts down at 5 o’clock and everybody leaves.”
Earlier this year, Metcalfe’s Market unveiled a proposed project that could occupy the East Washington Avenue site, but city officials at the time said Metcalfe’s proposal was submitted too late in the process and that they were moving forward with ULI.
Owner Tim Metcalfe did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment about Tuesday’s announcement. He had previously said he wanted to transform the old Don Miller site into a $45 million mixed-use development with a grocery store, retail space, housing and even a hotel.
An even larger proposal would be unlikely to work economically, Binkowski said.
“If (our proposal) wasn’t going to work, I’m not sure that anything else is going to,” he said.