City News

Developer proposes apartment building on West Washington Avenue

The development would be located on the northwest corner of Broom Street and West Washington Avenue.

Image By: Betsy Osterberger

An Illinois developer is planning a proposal for a new 4-6 story apartment building on the northwest corner of Broom Street and West Washington Avenue.

The developers are proposing a plan that includes 85 units with unique foldable furniture to maximize space and utility. Multiple bus routes run past the proposed West Washington corner, making it a convenient location for students and young professionals.

The neighborhood committee hosted a hearing regarding the proposal Tuesday. The meeting focused on the demolition of the six houses that currently stand on the site if the proposal is approved.

According to community members, the proposal could lead to a decrease in age diversity because the development would target EPIC employees.

“This is an important project because this is the first project in the downtown area that is asking to take down student housing,” said Urban Assets of Madison representative Melissa Huggins.

Some current tenants of the houses that would be demolished under this plan attended to voice their concerns about the project.

“Regardless of the fact that this is targeted towards young professionals, Madison is a college town and unfortunately, this plan does not allow for affordable housing for students,” said Anna Kiefer, a current resident at the proposed location.

Neighborhood members were also concerned about the loss of community diversity as a result of developers targeting young professionals.

“It’s like forced gentrification of the downtown Madison area of these young professionals,” said Mike Schwanke, a UW-Madison student.

The developers maintained that demand for housing in the downtown area has increased and failing to cater to that demand would cause housing prices to rise.

“If you don’t increase the supply of housing, the cost of housing is going to keep going up for everybody. We’re trying to cater to both students and professionals,” said Steve Bus, one of the project’s developers.

The developers will meet with other committees to work through these contentious issues before submitting their final proposal to the city.

UPDATE (Thursday, March 10, 6:14 p.m.): This article has been updated to reflect that Melissa Huggins is a spokesperson for Urban Assets of Madison, not a project developer.

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