The city’s Urban Design Commission took up a proposed design for a new culinary school at Madison College’s downtown campus for the first time Wednesday. 

Strang Associates Vice President Peter Tan presented the design plan for the culinary school, which would include three levels and one underground level in a building on North Carroll Street.

Tan said the new building would be unique in that its design would be similar to that of a retail store, since the first floor will be visible to the public.

“The first floor is pretty transparent,” Tan said. “The decorating lab is visible, along with the baking lab and the demonstration kitchen.”

Tim Casper, MATC public affairs and government relations manager, said the feature would be beneficial because the program would be visible to passersby. He added he wanted to create the sense of an “invitation” to members of the community by providing a transparent first floor.

UDC Chair Richard Wagner said he was concerned about losing green space in the area in which the culinary school would be located.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, said she supported the proposed development and said the culinary addition would create an opportunity to make a connection with its existing building.

She also addressed Wagner’s concern for green space, saying it could be solved with the inclusion of some type of courtyard near the culinary school.

MATC spokesperson Cary Heyer said there is still a lot of work and planning to be done before construction can begin.

“Once [the final decisions are] done, things will move probably within a year between the time we start building and the time it’s finished,” Heyer said. “If we get approval it should move quickly.”

Heyer said plans are tentatively set to begin construction in November 2012, with a proposed end date of December 2013.

Casper added the building will hopefully be open to students for the spring semester of 2014.

The predicted cost of the development is currently estimated at $8 million.