A six-story building contemplated next to Lisa Link Peace Park in the 400 block of State Street, Madison's iconic college strip, will likely be a tough sell.
The project, proposed by property owner Jim Shapiro, has not officially come before any city committees, but developers presented drafts to city planners earlier this month. It would require demolishing buildings housing B-Side Records, Princess of India and apartments. The top two levels would be recessed, allowing for a balcony.
Tim Parks of the city's planning department says the project as proposed has several problems and "may not be going very far very fast."
For one thing, construction staging for the building would use the recently renovated Peace Park - something city officials will likely oppose. And the developers propose building it right up to the park's property line.
"They were not proposing any rear yard," says Parks. "That requirement for the rear yard can't be waived."
Ald. Mike Verveer says the project raises questions about what development should be allowed on State Street, which the city tried but failed to make a historic district in the late '90s.
"We need to do everything we can to ensure State Street retains its unique character and preserve its history," says Verveer. "I'm not opposed to new construction, but it has to fit into the existing fabric of our community's most important street."