UW Police Chief Criticizes Stadium Bar Replacement Plan

Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 -- 10:14 p.m.

At a public meeting Thursday night UW-Madison's Police Chief Susan Riseling and others criticized plans to replace Madison's Stadium Bar with an eight-story building with apartments and commercial space.

"There's nothing about that block that says eight stories makes any sense at all," Riseling said.

The Minnesota-based Opus Group is the development company behind the plan to replace the Camp Randall-area bar. According to Stadium Bar co-owner Dan McCarty, Opus approached them earlier this year asking to purchase the $1.29 million property.

At Thursday night's meeting, several concerns came up regarding the building's height and problems it could create for parking and traffic congestion. The proposed apartments would have between 90-120 units, with underground parking for about 40 vehicles.

Chief Riseling also brought up possible safety concerns associated with high-rise apartments in general.

"There have been numerous studies that show... any building beyond six stories, the crime rate in that building goes up. There's a certain level of density in student housing you don't want to reach, and this complex will reach that and exceed that," Riseling said.

"People often have questions and concerns about density," said Julie Ledger, Vice President for Wisconsin's Opus Group. "But in the right location, as you can tell from the neighborhood plan, this was well thought through. This is a location meant to be a higher density, taller building."

Ledger said the Opus team will use the input from Thursday's meeting to help them design the plan, which will be presented to a city committee in February. If everything stays on schedule, the City Council could approve the project by April.

The project would not require any city subsidies and if it is approved, construction could start by June and finish by August 2014.

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