Four development teams that have done billions of dollars of projects across the nation are competing to join the city on a massive redevelopment with hotels, housing, stores, offices and underground parking near Capitol Square.
The Hammes Co./Majestic Realty, the Journeyman Group/Gialamas Co./Marcus Hotels and Resorts/LZ Ventures, Mortenson Development and the North Central Group are vying to join the city on a perhaps $200 million or more project on two prime blocks that now hold the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage.
The city invited developers to show their qualifications, offer preliminary project concepts, demonstrate financial means and more. Responses were due Tuesday. The project, if it moves forward, could be the most expensive mixed-use endeavor in the city’s history.
“I’m pleased we have four proposals,” Mayor Paul Soglin said. “They are all from well-established companies in terms of development and hotel properties.”
Soglin said he has not gone into any detail or analysis of the responses and declined comment on specifics.
Downtown Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, was also pleased and relieved to see high-caliber competition.
Under the city’s request, project concepts must include a hotel that could guarantee a minimum 250-room block for Monona Terrace, first-story retail and restaurant storefronts along Wilson, Doty and Pinckney streets, a bicycle center and parking for both blocks.
The developers offered impressive credentials and experience and diverse concepts for the properties with varying detail.
Hammes/Majestic Realty, of Madison, Milwaukee and Los Angeles, proposed a $210 million to $250 million project that would feature the Municipal Building as part of a 250-room destination hotel with grand lobby, restaurant and rooftop terrace, and up to 20,000 square feet of flexible space. That block would include residential units. The city preferred concepts that didn’t use the Municipal Building but allowed offerings that could be exceptional. The team also offered an alternative plan that doesn’t use the Municipal Building.
The Government East site, meanwhile, would host a second, boutique hotel with 150 to 200 rooms, first-floor retail, housing and up to 60,000 square feet of office space. There would be above-ground and underground parking.
The other developers kept the Municipal Building for city office use.
Journeyman/Gialamas/Marcus/LZ Ventures of Austin, Texas, Madison, Milwaukee, proposed a $188 million project that offers 352 hotel rooms in one or two hotels with a restaurant and bar and 20,500 square feet of ballroom and meeting space with parking for hotel and city uses on the Municipal Building block.
At the Government East property, the team would create first-floor retail, housing, 81,000 square feet of office space, and above-ground and underground parking.
Mortenson of Minneapolis would meet the requirements of the city’s request and provide office space, housing and community spaces. The initial concept includes $113.7 million for a 300-room hotel and parking with further study to determine details and costs for other elements of the project.
North Central Group of Madison would not use the Municipal Building block at all and do a $75 million to $80 million project on the Government East block, including two hotels with a total of 325 rooms and up to 30,000 square feet of meeting space, first-floor retail space, and above-ground and underground parking.
The approach, the developer said, would let the city secure a hotel and parking facility faster and allow the city to seek separate proposals for the Municipal Building block.
Marcus, which in 2001 opened the 14-story, 240-room Hilton Madison next to Monona Terrace, has first option to build on the Municipal Building site.
A January study by C.H. Johnson Consulting of Chicago says the city needs to build a hotel with 400 to 500 rooms — it would be the largest in the city — plus substantial meeting space to support Monona Terrace and the visitor and convention industry. The city, however, could secure the required 250-room block with a smaller hotel and guarantees that rooms be available.
The proposals were the first step of a two-part process.
City staff will review developer proposals and forward those deemed complete to the special Judge Doyle Square Committee, which will evaluate them. By June 30, the committee will recommend which developers should be invited to make more detailed plans. The City Council will review the committee’s recommendations, and the city will formally ask for the more detailed proposals on Aug. 15.
A preliminary project schedule shows parking garage construction beginning in 2014 and other construction on the Municipal Building block in 2015, with construction on the Government East side beginning in 2016 and the full project completed in 2018-19.