Madison city officials recommended several development firms to revitalize the State Street Campus Garage. The redevelopment aims to tear down the current structure completely and replace it with affordable housing and a permanent bus terminal.
Located at 415 North Lake street, the current 510-stall structure has been around since 1964. An addition at 430 N. Frances street with 542 stalls will continue to be connected to the new structure, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The city issued a Request for Proposals April 22, 2021, laying out the Mixed-Use Project’s goals and requirements for potential developers. Along with the economic and residential potential of the redevelopment, there were also hopes that the redevelopment would draw people in with retail, restaurants and entertainment opportunities, as stated in the RFP.
The request, also known as RFP, emphasized intermodal connectivity. Referring to the current structure as “obsolete,” it stated that the project aims to enhance the connections between pedestrians and bicycle use with a permanent intercity bus hub.
Back in 2021, developers submitted seven initial proposals, ranging from $64 to $140 million dollars and a structure between 12 and 16 stories, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. After the city reviewed the proposals, it chose four finalists — CA Ventures, CRG, Mortenson Development and Smith Gilbane.
The mixed-use project team sent a memo to the city’s Finance Committee comparing four development firms March 21, ultimately recommending they select Mortenson for the project.
Madison urban planner Jeffery Gregor said the city will work with Mortenson over the next six to nine months in order to reach an agreement.
Gregor said the timeline for the project’s completion is estimated to be sometime between 2025 and 2026. It is in flux, Gregor said, depending on the negotiations that happen within the next year to 18 months.
“[A challenge of the project] is coming to an agreement with the developer, just making sure everyone’s on board,” Gregor said.
Gregor also said that the city might also face financial difficulties in paying for the project with the parking utility budget, especially due to the reduced parking brought on by COVID-19 over the last two years.
Gregor said the city’s been trying to make the most of downtown land in recent years. He added that they’ve also been looking to implement an inner-city bus terminal for a while and that student housing would be another benefit.
As reported by The Badger Herald last November, community members raised concerns after the initial seven proposals included luxury apartments in the redevelopment plan. The current plan has an emphasis on affordable housing, however, particularly for UW students, Gregor said.
“Part of the project is to have an affordable component, so as the proposal stands right now, Mortenson is setting aside 100 bedrooms for affordable units,” Gregor said. “Part of it is working with financial aid folks to identify the students that are eligible.”
Housing will be added above the garage, while retail spaces will be on the first floor, according to NBC15. The article, published in July 2021, quoted Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway who said the project would benefit University of Wisconsin students, residents and those visiting Madison.
UW professor in the department of planning and landscape architecture Edna Ledesma said potential next steps for redevelopment might include planning how to generate revenue, how to support businesses and rethinking how city parking is structured — particularly in dense areas.
Cities typically decide to pursue such projects because they see the potential in developing public land that isn’t currently generating tax revenue, Ledesma said.
“The first benefit that we are thinking about from a public side is increased revenue to the city,” Ledesma said. “So that’s great, that means that the city will now have more tax dollars to then use to subsidize or pay for other operations for the city, so that might be improvements in park systems, buses, et cetera.”
Ledesma also spoke on how the project is rethinking parking, adding retail amenities to the street as opposed to a stand-alone garage. She said that in her opinion, the city could have taken a more environmentally friendly and cutting edge approach by cutting down on parking instead of keeping the same amount of stalls as the current garage.
In a press release, the city of Madison announced that construction is planned for 2025. As stated in an addendum, the city is also open to potential opportunities with adjacent properties.