Essen Haus redevelopment plan presented to Madison residents

Residents listened to developers laying out the proposal Wednesday evening.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Neighbors are weighing in on a proposal to redevelop an area of downtown Madison. The plan would redevelop properties along South Blair Street and East Wilson Street.

Residents listened to developers laying out the proposal Wednesday evening. It’s now the fourth proposal to redevelop this area of downtown Madison since 2000.

“Neighbors... have been through this redevelopment thing a few times,” District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel said.

The proposal was put together by JCAP Real Estate. It includes building an eight-story residential building and a six-story hotel. The two buildings would replace the Essen Haus and Come Back In restaurants, but would keep Hotel Ruby Marie.

Essen Haus
Essen Haus(NBC15)

“It started with learning from the past and what prior applications had submitted and working to try to address the shortcomings that derailed previous proposals,” Vandewalle and Associates principal urban designer Brian Munson said.

The proposal received mixed opinions from residents who participated in Wednesday’s virtual meeting.

“I’m in favor of the Blair Street development,” Madison resident Jim Cerro said. “The hotel part of this plan really sucks. I’m sorry, but that’s the way I see it as a long, life long City of Madison residents, and I’ve heard from many other people who pretty much feel the same way.”

The residential building would offer 150 units. A portion of those units would be offered as affordable housing for those who make at least 60% of the area median income.

The hotel is designed to have around 100 rooms.

The proposal still has several steps to go through before it may be approved. Munson said the plan is expected to be officially submitted to the city by October.

NBC15 reached out to the Essen Haus restaurant. They said they have no comment on the matter.

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