UW Credit Union pulls plans for branch at former Sentry site

UW Credit Union said it will no longer pursue plans for a branch at the former Sentry grocery store site at 4602 Cottage Grove Rd.

BARRY ADAMS, STATE JOURNAL

The need for more density has killed another plan for the former Sentry Foods store site at the corner of Cottage Grove Road and Acewood Boulevard on the city's Far East Side.

UW Credit Union officials announced on the Elvehjem Neighborhood's Facebook page that it will no longer pursue plans for a credit union branch at 4602 Cottage Grove Road. The city wants the site to include a mix of retail and commercial along with up to four stories of housing, something UW Credit Union plan did not meet.

Plans last year from Kwik Trip for a gas station and convenience store at the location were opposed by many in the neighborhood who feared the effects of traffic, lighting and the sale of beer and wine, but the city also had concerns that the proposal wasn't dense enough. Those concerns remained with the UW Credit Union proposal.

"After several discussions with City Planning, it is apparent that our plans for either a single building or two buildings to create more density on this site do not align with their specified preferences and/or requirements," the Credit Union letter stated. "In view of the fact that it is highly unlikely for us to achieve site approval, we have decided to step away from this project."

The credit union, with 14,000 members within a 3-mile radius of the site, said it will continue to look for other options to serve the neighborhood.

In a letter to residents posted May 9 on the neighborhood's Facebook page, Heather Stouder, the city's planning director, said the 1.9-acre lot will be best served with mixed-use development configured toward pedestrians in the key transit corridor.

Stouder said a credit union could be part of the overall plan and would be an improvement for the property but the UW Credit Union proposal "is still largely inconsistent with plan recommendations for multi-story mixed-use buildings at this corner, which is a rare 2-acre infill redevelopment opportunity," Stouder wrote.

The 25,000-square-foot Sentry store closed in July 2014 after more than 40 years in business and shortly after the opening of the Roundy's-owned Metro Market to the east. In late 2015, Kwik Trip proposed a $3 million, 7,200-square-foot convenience store with fuel pumps on the site, but the project did not meet the approval of the Plan Commission. 

Send retail-related tips and story ideas to badams@madison.com or call Barry Adams at 608-252-6148.

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Barry Adams covers regional and business news for the Wisconsin State Journal.