Hotel proposal East Washington Avenue North Franklin

A newly proposed 5-story hotel would require demolishing or relocating four homes at East Washington Avenue and North Franklin Street.

McGrath Property Group

A Madison developer is proposing a five-story hotel at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Franklin Street that would require demolishing or relocating four multi-unit houses.

The proposed hotel would have 50 to 60 rooms and 16 to 20 parking stalls with a lobby and commercial space facing East Washington Avenue. The project would displace houses at 502 and 506 E. Washington Ave. and at 7 and 11 North Franklin Street.

“It will be a smaller, more intimate hotel,” said Michael Metzger of McGrath Property Group.

Metzger said the site was chosen for its location, just a few blocks from the Capitol Square in the increasingly busy Capitol East District, which has seen additions of apartment complexes, office space and plans for a new concert venue.

He said the commercial space would be meant to “activate the street front” and bring a new amenity — like a coffee shop — to the James Madison Park neighborhood. Metzger said he hopes to open in summer of 2019 if the project is approved.

Adam Fredendall of JLA Architects said in its Urban Design Commission application letter the building would have a “sleek modern design” and use materials like metal, panel, hardwoods, stone and fibercement.

“This development will have a positive social and economic impact on the surrounding community,” Fredendall said in the application. “The redevelopment of this property will provide high quality lodging, and infuse the local businesses with new revenue sources.”

Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, said the location works for new development but has some concerns about the historic nature of the houses facing removal and the possibility of “throwing away distinctive” buildings.

Metzger said McGrath is looking into possibly relocating the structure at 502 E. Washington Ave. 

A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 322 E. Washington Ave. The UDC is scheduled to hear an informational presentation on the project at its Sept. 6 meeting.

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In 2012, the city authorized a hotel market study to inform the Judge Doyle Square redevelopment planning process. The report concluded Madison needed an additional 400 hotel rooms to support Monona Terrace, which confirmed earlier recommendations from a 2009 study.

Several hotels have been added to Madison’s market since the report was published and others are in progress.

The 165-room 10-story AC Hotel recently opened a block off Capitol Square on North Webster Street. On the 100 block of State Street, developers have proposed a 120-room boutique hotel. There are also plans for a hotel in the former Mautz Paint Building on the 900 block East Washington Avenue.

Beitler Real Estate’s plan for the Judge Doyle Square project include a 252-room hotel, and a 197-room hotel is slated for Madison College’s Downtown Education Center site.

Correction: This article has been changed to reflect that Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, did not say that the neighborhood association has taken a position on the project. The neighborhood will likely hear about the project for the first time Monday. 

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.