City officials, Madison residents and students met Monday night to discuss a proposed 10-story apartment building for 234 W. Gilman St.
The building would be located between the Woman’s Building and a church, which is currently under construction. If the city approves the plan, the building would include approximately 50 student apartments and 15 underground parking spots.
However, many Madison residents disagreed with the architecture plans presented by developer Joe McCormick.
Currently a vacant parking lot, the art-deco architecture plans are for a 10-story building. Although in violation of city height limits, McCormick plans to appeal to the city.
The front of the building would be four stories high with the top six stories set back 30 feet, according to McCormick.
Many residents, including Stan Kaufram, said they believed the building was too tall.
“A building of that height should not be put there,” Kaufram said. “It will stick out like a sore thumb.”
McCormick said an eight-story version had previously been considered.
“We found, in my opinion, the taller [the building] got, the better it looked due to the nature of the design,” McCormick said.
Residents also complained that the architecture and style of the building did not fit in with current buildings on Gilman and State streets. However, McCormick said he disagreed.
“Downtown [Madison] should be becoming more vibrant, and the cornfields on the far east and west side should be left alone,” McCormick said.
McCormick also announced that plans for the building would also include a parking ramp in the front center. Residents raised many concerns, such as blocked pedestrian sidewalks and increased traffic.
Some residents urged McCormick to consider parking stalls for community cars. Many buildings in Madison include community car stalls that allow residents to rent a car by the hour.
McCormick said his largest concern is the student reaction to the proposed building.
“I think the biggest problem with these meetings is the lack of student representation,” McCormick said. “And that is our target audience.”
Although McCormick did not know the cost of rent, he said he believes it would “be in line with the current market.”
University of Wisconsin junior Liz Sanger, a Gilman Street resident who attended the meeting, said she believes affordable student housing is important.
“As current students, we owe it to future students to make sure that housing is affordable,” Sanger said.
Although Sanger had never attended a community meeting before, she said student involvement is important in decision-making.
“Students are the majority of residents [in the neighborhood],” Sanger said. “I think they should be here, especially if they have an opinion to add.”
Ald. Austin King, District 8, ended the meeting by asking residents if they had reached an agreement. However, due to much disagreement, residents said they believed much discussion was needed before the city would approve the plans.