Garver Feed Mill design proposal map
Public comments submitted on the Garver Feed Mill redevelopment project show strong community support for an artisan food production facility on the historic site, but preliminary scores from the selection committee show divided opinions among its members.
About 25 people spoke at a meeting last month and more than 60 others gave their opinions via email. The majority favor the proposal submitted by the Chicago-based Baum Development, which would transform the historic building into a workspace that caters to “local, mid-sized and established craftspersons” who have outgrown their current facilities.
The other three proposals include an event center submitted by the Madison-based Alexander Company, an apartment complex submitted by the Milwaukee-based Ogden & Company and a senior housing complex submitted by the Verona-based Alternative Continuum of Care.
Many Baum supporters liked the idea of bringing food production back to the Garver facility, which was once used to process sugar beets. Others complimented the project’s incorporation of local businesses as well as the opportunities for neighborhood residents to access the property via the proposed café and retail area and the unique “microlodge” units for overnight guests.
“[Baum] is by far the best option to both engage the local community, retain a local natural space, and have a positive impact on the local environment,” neighbor Becky Koehler wrote in an email. “The two residential options are awful, and the Alexander Company proposal will not have the same positive, interactive impact on the community as the Baum option.”
The six-person Garver Feed Mill Selection Criteria Committee assigned numerical scores to each of the four Garver options based on criteria established in the city of Madison’s request for proposal. Those scores were then combined to form an overall ranking.
“I stress to the public and committee members that the scores are not binding,” says Dan Rolfs, a community development project manager with the city of Madison's Office of Real Estate Services. “They are a guide.”
Based on the evaluations submitted last week, the overall high score went to the Alexander event center proposal, which is the first choice of Ald. Joseph Clausius and citizen members David Wallner and Maurice Sheppard.
Ranking close behind is the ACC proposal, which received top marks from District 15 Ald. David Ahrens.
The Ogden plan received the lowest marks.
The committee meets Wednesday, March 18 at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., to discuss the scores and make a recommendation to the Common Council.