The hulking, yellow Royster-Clark plant on Cottage Grove Road is long demolished and the sprawling former industrial site largely vacant, most recently used as a staging area for the reconstruction of Monona Drive.
Now, after years of planning, Ruedebusch Development & Construction is seeking final plan approvals for a much-anticipated mixed-use project with single-family homes, apartments, offices and retail space and more that will transform the roughly 28-acre property — the city’s biggest redevelopment site — now called Royster Corners.
“It’s a long time coming,” said Ald. David Ahrens, 15th District, who now represents the area. “Seven years ago it was a fertilizer plant that was smelly and noisy and going off at 2 in the morning. Now it’s going to be a community with 200-something homes.”
The approvals, to be considered by the Plan Commission Dec. 16, will divide the site into smaller lots and create an interior street pattern so the city can do public infrastructure work in the spring with initial private development following as soon as next fall.
The property will get two major new streets with sidewalks, curbs and gutters and planted terraces and other improvements.
“It’s very encouraging,” said Kyle Adams of Ruedebusch. “As a local Madison developer, we want to see the project do well. It’s a very gratifying experience.”
The full development, based on a special city plan from 2009 and driven by market conditions in the housing market, may take five to 10 years, Adams said.
Ruedebusch is seeking approval to create lots for 51 single-family homes with a mix of sizes and prices to be built over time, and there are also requests for the first apartments and commercial spaces that could begin to rise in late 2014.
Specific proposals for the rest of the site, including the prominent corner of Cottage Grove and Dempsey roads that’s expected to host job-creating businesses, a new public library branch and maybe a grocery, will be made in the future.
For now, in addition to the house lots, Ruedebusch is seeking approval for a 22-unit, three-story apartment building with first-floor commercial space and surface and underground parking at the corner of Cottage Grove Road and the new Royster Oaks Drive, which will connect Olbrich and Maher avenues.
The developer is also asking approval for 80 apartments in a pair of three-story buildings with surface and underground parking on the interior of the site at the corner of Royster Oaks Drive and the new Pinney Road.
The team of Stonehouse Development and Movin’ Out, which is buying a 1.8-acre parcel from Ruedebusch, wants approval for an $11.9 million project with 70 lower-income apartments, a guest suite and first-floor commercial space with surface and underground parking on Royster Oaks Drive and Pinney Road.
Movin’ Out, which supports Madison households with family members who have a permanent disability, will occupy the first-floor office space and 59 apartment units, according to city documents. The team intends to use $400,000 in tax incremental financing (TIF)
support, $394,000 in city Community Development Block Grant funds and $266,000 from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the documents say. It also anticipates $420,000 in Federal Home Loan Bank assistance and
$7.5 million in state tax credits.
“We see these three proposals as very conforming with the adopted plan for the area, and we’re really looking forward to the catalytic impact they will have,” city planner Heather Stouder said.
The Eastmorland and Lake Edge neighborhood associations back the plans, but there is concern about traffic and hope the redevelopment will spur an upgrade of Cottage Grove Road to make it more of a boulevard, Ahrens said.
The 96-foot-tall Royster-Clark plant, with its 125-foot-tall smoke stack, and surrounding buildings operated from 1952 until 2006. The city and neighborhood completed the Royster-Clark Special Area Plan in 2009, and Ruedebusch, who got involved in 2011, demolished the plant and rail spurs in late 2011. The city rezoned the property earlier this year.