by Tim Kamps, District Chair
Over the last year, we in the Miffland neighborhood have continued to witness the rapid pace of development in downtown Madison, including many buildings under construction, as well as new proposals. Most of this activity is focused on apartments, and two high-rise buildings are nearly complete: the Lux, on West Johnson Street, and Uncommon, at West Mifflin and Bedford. Last summer the neighborhood development steering committee reviewed a proposal by Madison Development Corporation for a 4-story apartment building on the 400 block of West Mifflin which would replace three houses and offer a mix of low-to-moderate income and market rate rents. The steering group was generally supportive and the proposal received city approval.
Our neighborhood is currently grappling with a proposal by Up Urban Properties for an apartment building at the corner of West Washington Avenue and Broom Street. The building would replace six student rental houses, one of which could be relocated, with a six-story transit-oriented development having a mix of studios and one-bedroom units, and minimal underground parking. Many steering committee members feel that six stories is simply too tall for this area and advocate either a smaller building or preservation of existing houses. The proposal has undergone numerous revisions and alterations since our committee first convened in January, and its outcome remains to be seen.
In addition to residential construction, Hovde Properties has completed a major renovation of the former AT&T building at 316 West Washington Avenue. Earlier this year, we had an opportunity to tour the building, which now contains updated Class A office space, new windows, remodeled lobbies and other common areas, and houses a number of software and other tech companies, among other tenants. In addition, Red Sushi is preparing to open in one of the commercial spaces at street level, and this summer an artist will be painting a vertical mural on the building’s front facade.
Miffland continues to suffer from a deficit of park space, lately exacerbated by construction now underway on the site of what was for many years a de facto park at the top of Bassett Street. Many residents were very supportive of the city’s plan to purchase the Ambassador West building along with several other houses to create a park on the 400 block of Mifflin Street, and were disappointed in its demise. We continue to seek solutions to address our “park desert.”