Turning hotels into housing helps Madison’s growing population
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Several area hotels are getting renovations to prepare for more permanent residents. Turning hotels into housing is one way the City of Madison is adding desperately needed apartments for the growing population.
This month, a 12-month renovation project will begin to turn the Madison Plaza Hotel on the city’s west side, into Plato Madison, an apartment complex with 190 units.
After the previous contract ended with Madison Plaza Hotel, development company Repvblik purchased the hotel. The California based development company has done similar projects across the country including in Reno, Nevada, sterling Heights, Michigan, Sheffield, Alabama and Branson, Missouri.
Repvblik CEO Richard Rubin says renovating the hotel is much cheaper than building a new apartment complex.
“We’re not digging foundations we’re not laying a framing all of that is preexisting,” Rubin said.
The area median income in Madison is $68,000, according to the US census.
Plato Madison is considered workforce housing, which targets people who make between $40,000 and up to nearly $82,000 dollars year. Rubin said rent will likely cost between $1,000 and $1,200 a month depending on the unit and the resident’s income.
“There’s an almost endless amount of folks falling into that category who are either not poor enough to afford subsidized or will be eligible for subsidized housing, but not rich enough to, you know, buy their first home,” Rubin said.
The Madison Plaza isn’t the only hotel in the area being transformed into housing. In the spring of 2022, Hotel Red became Stadium Lofts, 50 units of workforce housing in the heart of downtown Madison.
In November, the Common Council approved zoning changes to convert the Radisson Hotel on Madison’s far west side into affordable workforce housing. Keith Furman, an alder on the Madison Common Council representing District 19, said the hotel conversions don’t mean the hospitality industry is packing their luggage and leaving, he said more hotels are being added to the area.
“As hotels look on how they’re going to compete,” Furman said. “They’re looking at different options on what to do with their properties. And the housing need in Madison is so high. I’m not surprised to see them teaming up with companies that have been successful in converting hotels into apartments.”
Even though hotels already have the basic bones for an apartment building, each room must go through mechanical, electrical, and plumbing upgrades.
“How much power comes to a previous hotel room is very different. powering a kettle, a microwave and a TV compared to, you know, running a range and a larger refrigerator,” Rubin said.
Rubin said the hotel pool will stay but the rest of the Madison Plaza hotel will become common areas for residents. The former hotel kitchen will become a bike garage, ball rooms will become additional storage units and offices will turn into workspaces, fitness rooms and lounge areas.
“Looking at the existing structure, seeing how it can be used and reused easily, is really exciting,” Furman said.
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