Madison City Council approved a $170 million redevelopment plan Tuesday for Judge Doyle Square, a two-block area in downtown Madison, making it the largest project in the city’s history.

City alders unanimously approved the agreement.

The city began discussing enhancing and fixing the area in 2010 to better connect it to Capitol Square and the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. City Council made the project a priority in 2012 as part of a new downtown plan.

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Last fall, Exact Sciences Corporate headquarters decided to end its plans for a downtown location, which would have been located in Judge Doyle Square.

The first major part of the plan is to replace the Government East parking garage on block 105 with a new underground parking facility. Mayor Paul Soglin said the plan is to complete construction by November 2018 and start the demolition of the current parking garage that same month, allowing access to parking.

“We crossed a major hurdle in regards to the Judge Doyle project and while we’re congratulating ourselves, I think we have to understand that there are major decisions still yet to be made,” Soglin said. “There is still a lot of heavy lifting and a lot of responsibility in the coming two years.”

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Soglin said the ramp behind the Municipal Building will need to be completed before the private development portion can begin. By contract, the first private development needs to start by November 2020 and the second and third stages will commence in November 2022.

The private development plan for Judge Doyle Square includes a complex consisting of a hotel with 250 rooms, approximately 350 apartments and retail space.The private development portion of the project will cost the developer, Beitler Real Estate Services, $131 million.

Construction on the hotel complex may begin as early as November 2018.