New HotelRED plans

A rendering of the proposed addition to HotelRED on Monroe Street. The plan calls for two full stories and an upper floor with decks, public space and a garden. 


Earlier this year, HotelRED on Monroe Street and a two-story building at 668 State St. both sought city approvals for additions.

Both plans were criticized, but developers took the feedback, made changes and are hoping for approval before the city’s Urban Design Commission this Wednesday.

The UDC will meet at 4:30 p.m. on August 2 in the City County Building at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

HotelRED, located steps from Camp Randall Stadium at 1501 Monroe St., has been open since 2011. It has 47 guest rooms, but wants to expand, originally proposing to double its height, adding four stories to the existing four-story hotel. 

The project appeared before the Madison Plan Commission in March. Commission members said the taller building would look better, but that eight stories was too much for the neighborhood.

“I agree with the applicant that increasing the height might make the building more aesthetic and the design more pleasing, but I agree with the neighborhood that an eight-story height ... is just too massive at this intersection,” commissioner Brad Cantrell said.

The neighborhood response was split, with some citizens saying the height would set a bad precedent for future development.

That plan would have increased the hotel from its current 39,867 square feet to about 76,600 square feet and added about 50 guest rooms.

With the new plans, HotelRED is still looking to grow taller, but not quite as tall. The project would add two full floors of rooms and a smaller upper floor with an urban rooftop garden, two decks, public event space and a bar and lounge. The new plans would add 40 rooms and increase the square footage to 66,007.

Before after HotelREd

A rendering by Strang, Inc., shows the new HotelRed proposal in comparison with the faded, taller proposal that was rejected by the city's Plan Commission earlier this year. 

Sara Eskrich, the alder for the district, said that while neighborhood reaction “continues to be mixed,” she believes “there is an appreciation by some neighbors for the design considerations incorporated by HotelRED into the revised plans.”

The other project seeking to expand was previously criticized by the UDC during an informational presentation in May. In that case, it wasn’t a question of height, but of style.

The project calls for an addition to a two-story building at 668 State St., currently home to a UW Credit Union branch on the first floor and Browzer Bookshop on the second floor.

The project would add four stories to the existing structure, with a six-story addition behind the existing building to create about 24 “student-oriented apartments.”

The developers for the project are Harold Langhammer and Scott Faust, the developer of City View and Park Place Luxury Apartments, both high-end apartments marketed to UW-Madison students.

Originally, the plans called to keep the facade of the two-story building and add on a more contemporary style with metal panels for the upper four stories, but UDC members didn’t like the old-meets-new mashup. They questioned why the plans kept the old facade on the lower stories and suggested a more uniform design.

Rendering for Browzers Expansion

A proposed addition to Browzer Bookshop at 668 State St.

The new plans redesign the lower facade, partly in response to the UDC’s comments, the application for the project states.

Browzers addition

A new proposal for a four-story addition to a building located at 668 State St.

The addition is slated to begin at the beginning of November and be completed by August of next year.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda, the UDC will look at the designs for Washington Market, slated for 640 W. Washington Ave. The site would host a three-season market and reconfigured train cars.