Carbon at Union Corners

Carbon at Union Corners, which consists of two four-story buildings joined by a courtyard and path that leads to East Washington Avenue, is the second phase of a four-part construction project at Union Corners. 

The proposed GrandFamily Housing development is intended for families where grandparents or extended family members — rather than parents — are raising children.

That means the building has to be ready to accommodate large numbers of kids, so as designs for the development work their way through the city approval process and garner neighborhood feedback, developer Gorman & Company is making small tweaks to make it increasingly kid-friendly.

The development is slated for 2507 Winnebago St., and will provide 59 units, 56 of which will be affordable, in two three-story buildings. Lutheran Social Services will be onsite to provide support services.

GrandFamily is the third of four phases at the Union Corners development on Madison’s east side.

Union Corners includes UW Health clinic on the corner of East Washington Avenue and Sixth Street, and Carbon at Union Corners, a 90-unit housing development with 76 affordable units. After the GrandFamily building is constructed, the five-story, 100-unit Nexus apartment building will get underway.

Providing housing for grandfamilies is a growing movement, with The Oak Ridge development in Middleton dedicating seven units to the population. About 28,000 children in the state live with a relative other than a parent. One cited cause of the growing need for grandfamily housing is the opioid epidemic, which can leave children orphaned or with parents in prison or treatment. 

As the GrandFamily development targets families, a neighborhood meeting on the project earlier this month brought up kid-related questions. Nicole Solheim, development manager at Gorman, said neighbors offered suggestions for the play space meant to accommodate the kids at GrandFamilies and throughout Union Corners.

Gorman already planned a large outdoor playground on the GrandFamily site, but after neighborhood discussion, is now looking into additional natural playscape elements, Solheim said. Rummel noted that residents urged the developer to keep some existing “hilly contours." Gorman is also considering an indoor play space, after Carbon residents at the neighborhood meeting talked about a need for a warm space for kids to run around in the winter, Solheim said.

Residents also brought up concerns about traffic calming on Winnebago Street, which is “wide open, and cars can go though pretty fast,” Solheim said. Gorman is hoping to add a traffic calming element, like a traffic table (a raised surface longer than a speed bump), to slow cars down.

Gorman & Company also wants to add additional surface parking to the GrandFamily side of the development. By moving the GrandFamily building away from Winnebago Street, they can increase parking from 15 to 37 spaces. The additional parking would serve commercial tenants at Carbon and the future Nexus building.

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The $13 million GrandFamily project has already received federal tax credits, but is applying for additional credits this year. According to the application, construction is slated to start in September and end November 2019.

The project will appear before the city’s Urban Design Commission on Wednesday, and is slated to go before the Plan Commission on March 5.

Also before the UDC:

  • Designs for the Normandy Square affordable housing development at 6509 Normandy Lane.
  • A 2-story student housing building at 222 North Charter St. drawing concern from UW-Madison.
  • A general development plan for the multi-building west-side development Madison Yards at Hill Farms on the site of the current Wisconsin Department of Transportation Office Building.