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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Apartment complex to replace Badger Pantry site in 2004

Students in the Gorham St. area might need to find a new place to shop, since the Badger Pantry, 437 W. Gorham St., may soon be no more. Pending approval from the Madison Plan Commission and the City Council, a 12-story apartment building would take the place of the convenience store by August 2004. 




Developer Wayne Dishaw, a student landlord for the last 30 years and owner of the Badger Pantry, is looking forward to the change. He said he does not anticipate much opposition to the destruction of the existing building. 




\It's hardly a landmark,"" Dishaw said. ""[The new building] should provide attractive housing.""  




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The building would include two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments and one efficiency. Due to recently approved guidelines, it will also have a storefront area on the first floor. While Dishaw is not sure what will be there, he said it would probably not be a convenience store. However, he said it would be something the tenants could use. 




Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, also does not expect many students to object to the new building, because he said students tend to be transient. In addition, Verveer said more student housing is good for renters. 




""Giving students wider housing options is a good thing,"" Verveer said. ""It's creating a much more competitive market place."" 




Verveer will hold a neighborhood meeting later this month at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel, 525 W. Johnson St., to discuss Dishaw's project. People at the meeting can also discuss developer Mike Fisher's project, a plan to build a six-story apartment building across the street from Badger Pantry. 




While Verveer and Dishaw do not anticipate objection from the students, Verveer said three landlords contacted him saying there was too much competition already.  




Dishaw said competition would also help control the quality of available housing. 




""I think there's going to be more pressure to fix up those older buildings and have them looking nice,"" he said. 




Peter Olson, a staff planner for the Madison Planning and Development Department, said the new housing abundance is a marketplace function. Olson said the demand for housing is high and interest rates have been low. This has led to a lot of large new buildings, which he said the city encourages.  




""It keeps the whole downtown very alive and vibrant,"" Olson said.

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