A developer has made changes to a roughly $65 million project proposed for the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, and is still negotiating to land a grocer for the mixed-use redevelopment.
Gebhardt Development wants to add more floors for a total of 13 stories — the Capitol height limit — on part of the building, and has relocated grocery space from the corner of East Washington Avenue and Paterson Street — facing Breese Stevens Field — to the corner of East Washington Avenue and Livingston Street.
In late October, Metcalfe’s Market withdrew from the project, and Gebhardt is negotiating to secure another grocer to fill roughly 50,000 square feet on the ground floor of the full-block redevelopment, city officials said.
Overall, there’s still neighborhood enthusiasm for the project, said Ald. Ledell Zellers, 2nd District, but some residents have concerns about the extra stories and developers that offer initial plans that comply with city design guidelines and then seek more height.
Residents are also “hugely disappointed to lose Metcalfe’s Market,” Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association President Joe Lusson said. He’s worried the grocery may not be a local operation but said he was willing to give Gebhardt the chance to make it work.
Lusson said he wants the corner of East Washington Avenue facing Breese Stevens to be active, with offerings such as a cafe, deli or restaurant.
Otto Gebhardt and his agent could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The developer, who shared revisions with the neighborhood Oct. 30, will make an informational presentation to the Urban Design Commission at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room LL-110 of the Madison Municipal Building. The neighborhood association is expected to discuss the project again Dec. 5.
On July 18, the city and Gebhardt signed a purchase agreement under which the developer would buy the 4.5-acre, city-owned site and build in two phases. The first phase would include a 50,000-square-foot grocery, 175 to 240 residential units and a 350-space parking garage. The second piece has 22 owner-occupied homes, 65,000 square feet of commercial/retail/office space and another 173 parking stalls.
Urban Design District guidelines say the site can host eight stories plus two bonus stories — Gebhardt’s initial proposal was for 10 stories — for special features. The developer secured an ordinance change to allow 12 stories at his new mixed-use project a block away.
The proposal will need approvals by the Urban Design and Plan commissions, and the City Council would decide whether to allow the extra height and, if sought, a zoning change.
The site is part of the former Don Miller auto dealership the city bought for $5.8 million in 2010. The city sold 1.5 acres on the north side of the 700 block to Gebhardt, who built the Constellation there. Another developer sought to buy two acres on the south side of the 800 block but backed off.