Bancroft Dairy for WSJ edit

Madison just OK'd a $1.9 million loan to help a developer replace the blighted former Bancroft Dairy, shown here on the South Side, with a $25 million medical center and parking garage.

The redevelopment of the old Bancroft Dairy on South Park Street appears to be moving forward.

That's great news for Madison's South Side.

It also represents some progress at improving Madison's image. Our city needs to be a place where big projects can succeed, despite elaborate bureaucracy.

The Madison City Council on Tuesday approved a $1.9 million loan for the Bancroft site developer, Ghidorzi Cos. of Wausau. The city even showed some flexibility in approving a tax incremental financing loan that's larger than normally allowed, based on the property taxes the project will generate.

Ghidorzi intends to build a four-story building and parking garage on a one-acre triangular parcel bounded by Fish Hatchery Road, South Park and Midland streets. Wingra Family Medical Clinic will occupy most of the building.

The site was a perfect candidate for TIF because of its obvious blight. The former dairy has loomed large along South Park Street as a glaring sign of decay.

The TIF loan will help the developer pay for parking. New tax revenue from the property will pay off the TIF loan. The stale Bancroft building will be demolished.

We were deeply disappointed that the much bigger and more important Edgewater hotel redevelopment Downtown fell by the wayside last year. That was a shame, costing hundreds of jobs and tens of millions in added tax base.

So it's nice to see some projects, though smaller and less dramatic, moving ahead. Finally breaking ground on the Bancroft site will help repair Madison's image. The same goes for moving ahead the University Crossing project (three clinics, a hotel, apartments, offices and retail space) on the West Side.

Another sign of progress is the demolition of the old Royster-Clark fertilizer factory on Madison's East Side. Closer to Downtown, the revitalization of the East Washington corridor must be a priority. Hovde Properties just dropped plans for a $40 million redevelopment of the former Mautz Paint property.

Madison needs to keep the momentum going on promising projects that are at or near the finish line.

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