Madison Trust for Historic Preservation
The city should develop a plan for the rehab of those buildings using the good plan suggested by the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation as a start.
Over in this week's print edition of Isthmus, I've got an op-ed suggesting that the city should reject the proposal to level a historic building and replace it with a private pocket park on the corner of Mifflin and Fairchild.
The idea comes from the Block 100 Foundation controlled and funded by Jerry Frautschi. Jerry thinks the view from his Overture Center is marred by the gritty urban look of the back sides of the buildings that front on State Street on that triangular block.
But as I explain in the opinion piece, it would be a mistake to trade a historic building for unneeded urban open space. Instead, the city should pursue a four-step process.
First, the city could deny permission to tear down the historic Schubert building and replace it with the park. The Foundation has said that if that happens, they're out of the project.
So, second, the city should offer to buy the six buildings the foundation has assembled on the block at market rate prices.
Fourth, the city could then sell the buildings back to the private sector (ideally to different owners) who agree to work within in the context of the plan.
This would accomplish several things:
- Historic buildings would be saved from the wrecking ball.
- Diversity of rents and therefore uses would be promoted.
- Value would be added, increasing the tax base.
- If we follow the Trust's plan the view from Overture would be improved while maintaining the urban authenticity of the block.
I don't hold with those that say no old building can ever be touched. I just think we can do it better than what's been proposed by Jerry's foundation.