Imagine a showcase building in downtown Madison featuring entrepreneurs, nonprofits, technology companies and financiers all interested in environmental sustainability.
The concept has been floating around for a couple of years but is moving forward with the recent hiring of the group involved with development of Chicago’s "Green Exchange," the country's largest sustainable business community.
Baum Development will manage a feasibility study for the Madison Sustainability Commerce Center. The study will look at designs for the center, identify potential tenants and possible locations. The city’s Capitol East District along East Washington Avenue has been considered but no specific site has been finalized.
David Baum and his firm helped develop the Green Exchange in Logan Square. A 272,000-square-foot historic landmark building was completely renovated for the project, which features a 41,000-gallon rainwater collection system and an 8,000-square-foot organic garden.
The Green Exchange is linked to the creation of more than 1,200 jobs, according to Bryant Moroder, principal of The Sustainable Resource Group and a member of the team working to develop a Madison center.
“Landing David is a big step in moving this forward,” says Moroder.
The project team also includes McKinstry, a Seattle-based provider of design and build services for high-performance buildings.
Funding for the effort comes from a $300,000 grant received by the city through the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The planning contract will use about $75,000 of this grant. The team will further its plans and present its findings to the city over the next several months.
“I can see a lot of potential users from nonprofit to the private sector who could work in a very cool space in downtown Madison,” says Moroder.