Hotly contested plans to renovate State Street’s 100 block have been put on hold after months of debate among city officials and developers, ultimately leaving the unanswered question of whether the block will see a revamp or not.
The proposal, which includes restorations to the landmark Castle and Doyle building and the demolition of the landmark Schubert building in favor of an open garden space, was first unveiled by Madison philanthropists Jerry Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland last October.
The plan was met with mixed reviews among city officials, with several opponents decrying the loss of a landmark building and the “historically significant” Stark Building on the corner of Fairchild and Mifflin Street.
“The plaza replacing these buildings … would be sterile and unwelcoming,” Madison resident Rosemary Lee told a city committee. “To willfully destroy these grand old ladies and replace them with glass and steel would be a mortal sin.”
Project Manager George Austin said in an earlier interview with The Badger Herald the plan developers would not accept a compromise on the issue of the plaza and would withdraw the proposal should city officials vote against the space.
Several city committees struggled with making a final decision regarding the plans. Both the Urban Design Commission and the Landmarks Commission passed the proposal between themselves numerous times, each unwilling to put an end to the project but also disinclined to approve it.
Frautschi and Rowland ultimately chose to withdraw their proposal from city committee conversations, requesting nearly two months ago that the plan be removed from commission agendas until further notice.
“They have requested that the item be removed from the agenda to allow the foundation to decide whether or not it should move the project ahead,” Austin said.
Plans to return the proposal for further discussion within city committees have not been made.