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Plan Commission puts Wonder Bar demolition, new development on hold

Strides forward in development would mean a tear-down of a 92-year-old Madison restaurant
Strides forward in development would mean a tear-down of a 92-year-old Madison restaurant(WMTV Elise Romas)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:05 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The City of Madison’s Plan Commission voted Monday night to table plans of demolishing the Wonder Bar for the development of a mixed-use high-rise.

The proposed new development at the Olin Ave. location is an 18-story apartment building, which would become the third tallest building in Madison.

Its development, however, comes at the cost of knocking down the historic Wonder Bar, which has ties to the prohibition era and organized crime.

Before the commission put the item on file without prejudice, community members spoke during a public hearing. Many cited historic preservation, height of the building and potential light pollution as reasons against demolition.

While some city leaders were uncertain where they stood on the project, the commission unanimously voted to put it on hold.

“I’m not opposed to this project, I’m conflicted,” Alder Sheri Carter said. “I’m straddling the fence, and the fence is left side to support, right side to say – can we work on it a little bit longer?”

This vote allows developers to reexamine and adjust their plans.

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