Debate Continues Over Building Housing Essen Haus

A much talked about Madison landmark made it onto the state's top ten most endangered list, fueling debates about the future of the site.

People want to know what's going to happen to Block 115, which is currently home to Essen Haus, Come Back In, and a big lot. There is a push to develop the property by building condos and retail shops.

But a citywide advocacy group does not want high rises to interfere with the historic site which is located in one of Madison's oldest neighborhoods.

“The whole scale of that historic neighborhood is threatened by an eight story condominium tower, and five and six story buildings that are just out of place we feel.”, says Madison Trust Historic President Joe Lusson.

Development specialist Greg Hartman disagrees. “Our building would be eight stories. It is the same height as MG and E's commercial building across the street,” Hartman says. “In talking about the historic nature of the neighborhood there are already buildings there that are that tall.”

Greg Hartman works at a development corporation in Middleton that has put together a $55 million plan to re–develop the site.

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