A historic residential building has one last chance at survival from demolition after a city committee voted to pass a development proposal on the 200 block of Langdon Street.
The Plan Commission unanimously passed recommendations to the City Council to demolish the Theta
Chi fraternity house, consisting of 33 bedrooms on 210
Langdon St., and voted in a 5-3 vote in favor of the demolition of three apartment complexes to build an 84-unit
waterfront apartment building in their place at 619-625 N. Henry St., 140 and 145 Iota Ct. and
148-150 Langdon St.
The City Council will likely take up the proposal at their next meeting tonight.
Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, and commission member Anna Andrzejewski were
among those who opposed the proposed demolition.
“If we’re going to take away the existing buildings, then the standards are set really high,”
Rummel said. “I don’t know if it’s there yet, I won’t be supporting it.”
Randy Bruce of Knothe & Bruce Architects LLC said he worked to comply with concerns of fitting the proposed residence into the historical neighborhood and maintain its “rhythm.”
Bruce said the extra square footage included a courtyard, and the extra height of the Iota
Ct. complex would be disguised by other elements of the building.
“It’ll be of historic nature, with a lot of detail applied to it,” Bruce said. “I’ve seen
versions from the opposition, and their rendition is distorted.”
Residents said they were concerned with the size of the “waterfront project” because it was
significantly wider and higher than any other building in the Langdon area.
Stephanie Stender, treasurer of Kappa Kappa Gamma, said she was displeased with the waterfront plan. She said the downtown plan recognized the charm of the Langdon
neighborhood, but this proposal is counterintuitive to the plan.
Stender said she, along with others in the Langdon neighborhood, have put time and effort into maintaining the old, historic buildings. It would be “disheartening” to see them go, she said.
“Please consider the message you’re sending to other developers watching this proposal,”
Lisa Coop, resident at 622 N. Henry St. and a recent University of Wisconsin graduate, said she was
concerned about the amount of traffic these buildings would attract and it would make area less safe for pedestrians.
Emily Erickson, a sophomore at UW and member
of Alphi Chi Omega on 152 Langdon St., said she was also against the proposal because a new apartment development would take
away the character of the Langdon neighborhood.
“Langdon is a special community,” she said. “If we wanted to live in a modern apartment complex,
we would [live] in Grand Central or in the Equinox.”
According to Amy Scanlon, the city’s preservation planner, the Langdon area could
potentially lose their historic district status with these developments.
If both plans pass through City Council, construction is estimated to begin in August, Resnick
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he was in strong support for the building.
“This is a very exciting project, and I’m looking forward for construction to begin,” he said.
In 1997, the Langdon Street area had to be evacuated due to a gunman located at 145 Iota Ct.
Correction: A previous version of this article falsely said Emily Erickson opposed the demolition because a new fraternity house would take away from Langdon Street’s character. The copy has been updated to reflect a more accurate statement. We regret the error.