Madison delved further into sustainable development Thursday when a city department released the first draft of a feasibility study for a new green building proposed for the downtown area.
The Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development proposed the Madison Sustainability Commerce Center because the city is looking to attract businesses to the East Capitol district, according to the Office of Business Resources Manager Matthew Mikolajewski.
According to Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, the city is looking to create new jobs in the green and sustainability field. The building would allow businesses already residing there to have the opportunity to grow and expand, Mikolajewski said.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he believes the MSCC will be a tremendous asset to the East Washington Avenue area and the city as a whole. It would aid in the economic development of the region, he said.
A project such as this could spur additional interest to people who want to locate their business in this part of the city, Mikolajewski said.
According to Resnick, in previous years East Washington Avenue’s business district was thriving but now lots are more vacant. He said in order for the avenue to thrive once more the city needs jobs in the businesses and needs to obtain a revitalization of this district.
“[The building] will provide space for green and sustainable businesses to locate that will allow for like-minded companies to work in a facility that is itself sustainable,” Mikolajewski said.
The city is looking to be on the leading end of rebuilding technology in the Madison area, Mikolajewski said.
Resnick added the building could be particularly appealing for University of Wisconsin students. The building relates to UW students in the engineering fields and could help keep UW students in the community after graduation, Resnick said.
The early findings from the feasibility study indicated interest from businesses to locate this type of facility, Mikolajewski said.
In addition, from a financial standpoint, it looks like it is possible the MSCC could be financially successful, he said.
“The type of lease rates prospective tenants would be willing to pay could support the construction of the building,” Mikolajewski said. “There will be some need to fill a gap in the funding structure of the building, but the gap is not huge.”
Verveer said the study is only in its first step, and the project will need more effort and planning to make the center a reality.
The next step is to have additional outreach to property owners and developers within the district to determine whether or not they would have interest in such a project, according to Mikolajewski.
“The great thing about this study is it has provided us with a wealth of information from which we can now analyze what opportunities might exist with this project,” Mikolajewski said. “We are fairly pleased that the findings of the study are showing that we should continue working on this project.”