The Gebhardt proposal, as seen from the Mifflin Bike Boulevard.
The selection process for deciding which proposal will win the opportunity to develop the 800 block of East Washington Avenue continued Tuesday night with a public meeting at the Madison Municipal Building. About 60 people attended the meeting, including representatives of the three development teams and residents looking to weigh in.
Much of the talk centered on the height and density of the three projects. John Mackay, a philosophy professor at UW-Madison who lives on the east side, doesn't think low-rise construction is the best use of the property.
"I personally think that you should not be afraid of density and modern architecture," Mackay told the committee.
The T. Wall proposal (PDF) argues "the development should be modest in size" and attempts to appeal to what is "best for the neighborhood."
But Bert Stitt, a downtown resident and longtime Madison neighborhood activist, is concerned that there has not been enough emphasis on height and density in the request for proposals.
"We are constantly talking about the future of Madison, and that Madison will have more height and density," Stitt said.
The Gebhardt proposal (PDF), which also contains a 50,000-square-foot grocery store, is the tallest of the three and architect Chris Gosch thinks height is an important aspect.
"The fact that there are proposals that don't take advantage of views of the lake and the Capitol baffles us," said Gosch. "By implementing height in an area where it is allowed and needed, we have the most competitive and durable proposal."
A resident of the neighborhood, David Waugh, called the site "a wonderful place in our neighborhood for density." Waugh also brought up a concern about the eventual development: How would it protect or enhance the Mifflin Bike Boulevard?
All the proposals have kept the loading area for a grocery store off of Mifflin to keep trucks off the bike boulevard.
"We feel that enhancing the boulevard is of critical importance to the neighborhood," says Gosch of the Gebhardt plan.
The next meeting (PDF) for the committee will be March 21 at 5:30 p.m. and will focus on discussions of the three proposals. The first part of the meeting will be open to the public.