A proposal for a new student-oriented apartment building received final approval from the City Council Jan. 8, continuing the years-old housing development boom in Madison.
The 12-story building will be located on the 300 block of North Frances Street and is one of the many building projects expected to be built in downtown Madison in the next several years. Other large projects include five-story apartment buildings, which will be located on Park Street, Drake Street and Bassett Street.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said many changes and modifications were made to the Frances Street building’s design before it received final approval.
“I was critical of original design particularly because of the lack of windows,” Verveer said. “That problem went away when they redesigned the building.”
Scaling back the building is another change the building faced, which gave more room to the alley in back of the building and to the sidewalk and pedestrians, Verveer said. He said the living rooms and common areas have changed, along with an increase in closet space. Developers also added green space with a green roof made of shrubs and trees.
The modifications also included providing larger units with more amenities, such as a trash and recycling shoot, he said.
“The amount of space for the tenants improved in a very positive way,” Verveer said.
Verveer said the developer drafted a management plan to address the city’s concerns. He said it became part of the city’s approval of how the owners would manage the building.
Scott Faust, the owner of Boardwalk Investments, LLC., and the project’s developer, said concerns were addressed by adding more moped parking and lowering the density. He said the first floor of the building is commercial space and there will be an outdoor area in front of the building.
The two houses currently located at the site of the future apartment complex need to be redeveloped, Faust said.
“It’s a definite improvement and a neat building,” Faust said of the approved project.
The construction of the new apartment building will begin this summer, Verveer said.
Faust said many factors contribute to the recent increase in housing development in the downtown area, such as low vacancy and interest rates.
The newest downtown apartment buildings plan to cater to Epic employees, the employees of two nearby hospitals and retirees, Ald. Sue Ellingson, District 13, said. She said it usually takes a year for projects of this size to be built.
More people living in the city will increase the tax base and will help support shops and restaurants, she said.
“Increasing density is a good thing because it gets more people living closer to the city, so then they can bus, bike or walk to school or work and don’t have to take a car,” Ellingson said.