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Thursday, June 08, 2023

Plan for new 15-story Bassett high rise elicits mixed reactions

If local developer Erik Minton achieves his goal, a 15-story mixed-use apartment complex may rise on land currently occupied by Casa Bianca, 333 N. Bassett St.  




Minton, who built the Butler Plaza complex, 21 N. Butler St., gave an informational presentation on his proposed project to the Madison Plan Commission Monday, but has not yet started the process of applying for permits, according to City Planning Director Mark Olinger. 




Minton's approximately 240,000 square foot plan would include 250 apartment and condominium units, as well as a fitness center, restaurant, salons and 320 parking spaces at a total cost of $45 to 50 million. Minton said the building's apartments would range from efficiencies to three bedrooms and would rent for between $600 to 2500 per unit. 




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Sutton said the project was presented to the Plan Commission as soon as possible because the city is considering adopting restrictions that would bar a project as tall as Minton's from being built. 




\We presented as soon as we could, so they could see a possible project for that location,"" Sutton said. ""We wanted to show how to do a project different and still meet the intent of their guidelines."" 




One of the city's goals for the area is to limit buildings to 12 stories, according to Olinger. 




""We've been real concerned about height. The Plan Commission has been real sensitive about height and the number of stories,"" Olinger said. ""Erik's project is a nice project, but he knows it's too high."" 




In May, the Common Council turned down  




Randy Alexander's proposal for an 18-story building at 515 N. Lake St. amid concerns the building would be too tall. 




Minton said he thought the city's limit was arbitrary. 




However, the project does fit in with some of the city's other goals for the area, Olinger said. 




""The city's goal is to encourage more units downtown that would be more permanent,"" Olinger said. ""We are encouraging greater owner occupancy."" 




Minton said the building's residents would range from students to young professionals to senior citizens. 




""This will be a diverse representation of the type of people who want to live downtown,"" Minton said. 




Olinger said a project could bring residents downtown. 




""To say that [15 stories] is the only way the proposal can get built--I'm not willing to say that yet,"" he said. 




Minton said the building could not be built with units large enough to attract permanent residents unless it contained the additional square footage present in the top floors. 




""What happens is, these restrictions create an atmosphere where you're maximizing bedrooms in minimum square footage,"" Minton said. 




Sutton said the timetable for the project is ""dependent on the city's timeline."" The earliest construction could start is 2003.

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