The C.D. Smith proposal includes a small grocery store and bicycle repair shop, as seen from East Washington Avenue.
Plans continue to move forward for development of the 800 block of Madison's East Washington Avenue, with three different proposals being heard by the 800 North Block Selection Committee last Thursday night. The proposals will receive a public hearing Tuesday, March 12.
The city purchased the old Don Miller car dealership for $5.8 million in 2010, hoping to revitalize the neighborhood's old factory district. All three proposals offer a mixture of office space, residential apartments and a grocery store among other amenities aimed at serving the neighborhood and bringing people to the area.
Some nearby businesses, like Johnson Public House located a few blocks away at 908 E. Johnson St., are excited about what the new development could mean for area businesses. Owner Kyle Johnson says he is, "excited to have a larger customer base, I'm obviously crossing my fingers they will leak over to Johnson Street."
As a resident of the area, Johnson also likes the idea of having a grocery store nearby.
"The grocery store is great," he says. "We have the [Willy Street] Co-op which is nice, but not like a really big grocery store. Everyone that talks about it says there is that little gap missing, like in terms of produce the co-op is hard to beat but everyday things like bulk toilet paper you have to go to the far west side to Hilldale or the far east side at Hy-Vee."
Lindsey Lee, who owns Ground Zero Coffee on Williamson Street and Cargo Coffee on Park Street and serves as a board member of the nearby Marquette Neighborhood Association doesn't think the addition of a grocery store will hurt the co-op.
"There is some concern that a grocery store will affect the Willy Street Co-op, which we are very protective of," says Lee. "But I think it's a minority view. I personally believe that they are very much different businesses and will compliment each other and not compete for sales."
The ideas of sustainability and creating a destination on East Washington to help reinvigorate the neighborhood are common among the proposals. The differences come on the details.
Addressing the concerns about competition for the Willy Street Co-op, Tim Metcalfe says the neighborhood to the north of the 800 block location is a "food desert" for people looking to do "full basket shopping." The group is proposing a 50,000-square-foot grocery store. The store would be paired with commercial and retail space, structured parking and an apartment complex.
Joe Lusson, president of the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association and a member of the 800 North Block Selection Committee, says "the neighborhood is thrilled to have something going on in the 800 block" and "there are great aspects to all three plans, I think we are fortunate to have these proposals before us."
The C.D. Smith proposal (PDF) partners with Fresh Madison Market and offers a smaller grocery store of 30-35,000 square feet. Other features would include a bike repair shop on the Mifflin Bike Boulevard, a rooftop "living room," and an on-site workshop. This proposal also would have a mid-rise building as opposed to the Gebhardt proposal for a taller building.
The T. Wall Enterprises proposal (PDF) differs from the other two in style, with a brick look similar to the neighboring Breese Stevens Field. T. Wall is also proposing to include Fresh Madison Market in its development.
On Tuesday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m., there will be a public hearing at the Madison Municipal Building where the committee hopes to hear from neighborhood residents and business owners regarding the proposals.