Judge Doyle Square developer accelerates design process

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Though the Judge Doyle Square project has been described as a saga, the planning and approval process for the downtown Madison development is accelerating.

Madison’s City Council approved Beitler Real Estate’s $170 million redevelopment plan for the two-block area, which consists of private and public components, in July. Project manager George Austin said the developers have moved up design planning, so that the land use approvals for the private development would move forward at the same pace as the public construction approvals.

“That’s a big change because we felt those would be happening later on, but (Beitler) accelerated their design process to advance the drawing to a state where they could be reviewed,” Austin said. “That was a big, important decision that Beitler made that there would be no pause.”

An original schedule estimated the first private development element would begin in November 2020.

The public portion of Beitler’s proposal includes replacing the aging Government East parking garage with a 600-stall underground parking garage. The project will also have 200 parking stalls above ground to serve a 144-unit apartment building, retail space and a bicycle center.

Austin described the parking garage as the “linchpin” of the project. After that portion gets underway, the private development portion that includes a hotel and apartment buildings can start moving forward.

Demolition of the Government East garage is scheduled for November 2018.

The second part of the project will include a 250-room mixed-use hotel, 210-unit apartment building and above-ground parking garage to serve the hotel and apartment tenants.

The Beitler team announced preliminary design plans at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday. While the buildings are separate entities, the design of the structures aim to be seamless.

“We wanted the public and private buildings to operate separately,” Beitler vice president J.P. Beitler III said. “Architecturally, they all speak together and all work together in that regard.”

For example, the design plan phases in the use of limestone to match the Madison Municipal Building. Pedestrians at street level will notice that the building materials will transition from complete limestone to a mixture of limestone and glass to only glass.

Architects also took inspiration from the horizontal curves of the Monona Terrace convention center and converted that shape into vertically curved building as a way of “looking to the future but drawing from the past,” Beitler III said.

Paul Beitler, president of Beitler Real Estate, also announced a public art element for the project that would be located in a plaza between the private hotel and apartment complex. The developers recruited British artist Mackenzie Thorpe to create a tentative design of cyclists in motion that would be placed within a water feature.

“What we’re planning is to have the art pieces in the fountain with water splashing up underneath the wheels to make it appear that they’re actually moving,” Beitler said. “We think it would be a really magnetic piece that people would come to see.”

The Beitler team will present to the Urban Design and Landmarks commissions in the coming weeks and submit land use approvals by Feb. 22, Austin said. After that, the proposal will be reviewed by the UDC and and Plan Commission in April.

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