Update: initial plans revealed for demolition of historic downtown bar

By  | 

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Developers outlined their plans for an area of downtown Madison, home to the historic restaurant and bar Essen Haus.

The area's alder, people living in surrounding neighborhoods and more showed up to an informational meeting at the Madison Municipal Building to hear a more defined plan for the block around Essen Haus, located on Wilson Street.

McGrath Property Group is set to purchase several buildings within the block. The property group's proposal would demolish the Essen Haus buildings, located at 510-518 Wilson Street, and create a new five story building and parking structure. The building would include 180 apartment units, some with an affordable component, and new commercial space.

The proposal also includes restoring 506 Wilson Street, which is the Come Back In restaurant, located directly next to Essen Haus.

Alder Marsha Rummel said if the project is carefully done, it could enhance the neighborhood. She said some of her constituents were concerned about tearing down historical property.

"That history there of the First Settlement of Madison, and I think people want to preserve that mix of commercial and residential," she said.

A representative from McGrath said the initial plans also included demolishing the four homes they purchased on Blair Street, but after getting feedback from concerned neighbors, are not keeping it in the proposal.

The Worm family currently owns most of that block, including the four homes on Blair Street, Essen Haus and Come Back In. The Worms also own Hotel Ruby Marie, which is located on the corner of Blair and Wilson streets, but are not selling that property.

McGrath said it hopes to submit for a Formal Use Application to the city by May 29.