Community members voiced their concerns and support at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday as yet another high-rise apartment building looks to make its way into downtown Madison.
The proposed development by Dayton Square Apartments is set to be placed at West Johnson, North Broom and West Dayton Streets, according to Eric Lawson, spokesperson for the architecture firm, Potter Lawson Inc. It requires the demolishment of the three existing properties, he said.
Lawson said the proposed development will range in height from four to 12 stories and includes plans for a swimming pool and a fitness area, along with ample space for bike, moped and vehicle parking. The building will consist of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and will be targeted toward young professionals and University of Wisconsin students, he said.
Many community members expressed concern about the ability to find affordable housing in the downtown area with the elimination of the current properties.
Sam Seering, a resident of Dayton Square Apartments, explained there is a lack of apartment complexes downtown that have affordable housing for students and young professionals. He wanted to know whether the aspect of affordable housing was incorporated into the design considerations.
While strict rates have not yet been developed, Scott Kolar, the vice president of Capitol Neighborhoods Inc., explained there will be variances in price.
Still, residents continued to express concerns about how the development will fit in with the neighborhood.
“The building looks great, but if we can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter,” CJ Terrell, a Madison resident said.
Community members also took issue with the increased urbanization of the neighborhood and the pedestrian experience.
Area resident Jeffery Willis said sidewalks are already crowded, not just with the snow, but with groups of students and bikes.
“There’s going to be volume, but I’m not sure we’re ready for it on the street. So what can we do actively? We should be expanding the sidewalks,” Wills said.
Les Orosz, an adjacent property owner, said the neighborhood is in vast need for more sidewalk space. He said it would be a much friendlier area and people would not have to worry about being pushed into traffic.
Additionally, some current tenants and neighbors were upset they were not properly informed about the project in the beginning stages.
“It is unfortunate that Dayton Square residents were not aware of the redevelopment proposal until a few months after the first conversation with city officials,” Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said.
Despite these concerns, many of the community members agreed the building and design was beautiful. According to Ben Dodson, a current resident of a Johnson Street apartment, the new building will bring up the caliber of the neighborhood.
While community showed support for the project overall, Verveer emphasized many details still needed to be worked out.
“Overall the feedback is consistent with the thoughts I had before,” Verveer said. “We heard many concerns from community members tonight and will try to take steps to address them.”
According to Lawson, votes have not yet been taken by any city committees or boards, but the developer has applied for demolishment of the buildings. The development requires approval of the Urban Design Commission, Plan Commission and City Council, he said.