Landmarks Denies Demolition Permit for 906 Willy

Preservation versus exceptional new design at the crux of the vote

The Landmarks Commission meeting on June 15, 2015. (clockwise) Commissioners David McClean, Erica Fox Gehrig, Micheal Rosenblum, Commission Staff, Chairman Stuart Levitan, Randy Bruce, Knothe-Bruce Architects, Commissioners Christina Slattery and Marsha Rummel.

The Landmarks Commission meeting on June 15, 2015. (clockwise) Commissioners David McClean, Erica Fox Gehrig and Micheal Rosenblum, Commission Staff, Chairman Stuart Levitan, Randy Bruce of Knothe-Bruce Architects, Commissioners Christina Slattery and Marsha Rummel.

The status of a new development at 906 Williamson Street is in doubt after the Landmarks Commission voted 4 to 1 today (June 15) to deny a demolition permit to remove a 114 year-old four-bedroom home that is currently on the site.

The original project was proposed late last year by developer Louis Fortis and has gone through an evolution as both the neighborhood via the Marquette Neighborhood Association and Landmarks have weighed-in. Knothe-Bruce Architects has been shepherding the project and has made many adjustments based on neighborhood input.

However much of the staunch resistance has been from Landmarks itself which signaled it’s opposition to allowing demolition of the home when Knoth-Bruce made an informational presentation at the commission’s April meeting.

The neighborhood has shown a fair amount of opposition as well, arguing the home, while not a notable landmark, contributes to the historic character of the Third Lake Historic District. The development has had it’s supporters as well, contending that this particular home is beyond saving and would require repairs that might approach it’s current value. Additionally, many felt that it was only one of two single-family homes remaining on a block that is almost entirely commercial.

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Buraka Unveils Plans for Façade, Patio

MNA P&D to consider Buraka and Gib’s Bar request for outdoor seating

Plan for the exterior to the new Buraka, which will occupy 1210 Williamson.

Plan for the exterior to the new Buraka, which will occupy 1210 Williamson.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association Preservation & Development Committee meets Tuesday (June 9) to consider and vote on two requests for outdoor seating and one alcohol license. Maron Ragassa, owner of the much-hailed Buraka (1210 Williamson), has revealed drawings for the upgraded front of the building and rear deck and is seeking neighborhood support.

The concrete block building, which was constructed in 1966, has housed such venerated businesses as the Willy Bear and the just departed Jolly Bob’s, but is mostly architecturally unremarkable. This should win easy clearance from the Landmarks Commission; their staff report says Ragassa will have to modify the planned exterior insulation and siding as well as provide more detail about how the rear deck will relate to the building.

Plans submitted to Landmarks shows a layout very similar to Jolly Bob’s with seating for 40 and additional 17 at bar stools. Another eight could be seated outside. Inside capacity is shown at 74 with District Six Alder Marsha Rummel reporting a total capacity of 119. Buraka will be applying to the Alcohol Licensing Review Committee for a Class B combo liquor license with 30 percent alcohol to 65 percent food ratio.  Continue reading

906 Willy Developers May Have to Preserve Home to Win MNA and Landmarks Support

Second public meeting set for today as project bumps against neighborhood plan, historic ordinances

Developer Louis Fortis is seeking to build a four-story mixed-used building at the corner of Paterson and Willy Streets. Courtesy: Knothe-Bruce Architects

Developer Louis Fortis is seeking to build a four-story mixed-used building at the corner of Paterson and Willy Streets. Courtesy: Knothe-Bruce Architects

Another proposed mixed-used development at 906 Williamson Street is facing some opposition from the neighborhood and the City Of Madison Landmarks Commission over it’s height, low percentage of affordable housing, green space and demolition of a 4-bedroom single family home currently on the site.

Earlier this year Louis Fortis, who owns the Gateway Mall, proposed to demolish the current home and build a four-story mixed used building with 26 apartment units, underground parking, retail space on the first floor along Willy, indoor and outdoor bike parking, rooftop patio and green roof.

In the interim, Knoth-Bruce Architects has been working with Marquette Neighborhood Association to earn it’s endorsement since they feel it will be very helpful in their petition before Landmarks which says the design is okay, with somewhat minor changes, but they are leery about approving the demolition. MNA wants to see a shorter building, more affordable housing and the current home preserved.

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Jenifer Reconstruction Prompts Second Public Meeting, More Questions

Jeni_ThumbA second public meeting is scheduled tomorrow (January 21) after the City of Madison officials faced numerous questions at a public meeting earlier this month regarding reconstruction of Jenifer Street which could dramatically remake a four block section of the historic thoroughfare.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) submitted to the City and District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel additional formal questions regarding the reconstruction and it’s scope, the extent of planned tree removals, bus stop changes and construction equipment use.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. in Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center and will be attended by City representatives. The MNA questions can be seen below.

 

MNA Jenifer Reconstruction Questions

 Related: One-third of Jenifer Trees to be Replaced in Reconstruction Zone

Related: Dramatic Changes Coming to Jenifer Street

Dramatic Changes Coming to Jenifer Street

Project to narrow roadway, eliminate bus stops, but could damage historic homes

The 800 block (foreground) thru the 1100 block will be entirely rebuilt beginning this spring.

The 800 block (foreground) through the 1100 block of Jenifer Street will be entirely rebuilt beginning this spring. Jenifer’s notable tree canopy could be significantly degraded by the project as well.

The City of Madison hopes to begin a large reconstruction of several blocks of Jenifer and adjoining streets this spring that will impact both residents and transients that use the street daily during and after the project is completed.

The sweeping project will narrow Jenifer from Spaight to Few Street, install bump-outs to facilitate easier pedestrian crossings, move two Madison Metro bus stops and eliminate six others. Sections of Paterson Street and Brearly will also be rebuilt and portions of Few Street will be resurfaced.

While neighborhood leaders are encouraged by the traffic calming aspects of the project, there are concerns about the changes to the bus stops, the loss of tree canopy and for owners of historic homes, possible damage from construction vibrations.

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MNA Membership Meeting Thursday

Board elections plus Good Neighbor Award, Yahara corridor planning on tap

The MNA Board during a meeting in March 2014.

The MNA Board during a meeting in March 2014.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) holds its annual Membership Meeting Thursday October 15, at 6:30 p.m. with an open house at 6 p.m. The gathering, held in the Marquette Elementary School Cafeteria  accomplishes several goals for the year.

It allows members to pay annual dues, vote on new Board members, hear the yearly state of the neighborhood address from the  President and approve the yearly budget. The Board also presents the Good Neighbor Award to two individuals who have made positive impacts on the community.

The Marquette neighborhood runs from Blair street on the west end to Division Street and portion of Dunning on the east. Its northern border is East Washington Avenue and then winds its way toward the lake along First Street and then along Eastwood Drive.

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1018 Williamson Demolition Delayed

Landmarks gives owner a year to sell or tie property to Petinary expansion

1018 Williamson (right) is spared from demolition for now. Owner Mike Kohn who also owns the Petinary (left) wanted to convert the property to greenspace.

1018 Williamson (right) is spared from demolition for now. Owner Mike Kohn, who also owns the Petinary (left), wants to convert the property to greenspace.

When Petinary owner Mike Kohn purchased 1018 Williamson in 1992 it was in sorry shape and he planned to tear it down. A year later the City of Madison Landmarks Commission granted him permission to demolish the property but it never happened.

Now 22 years later, after restarting the process, Kohn will have to wait another year to try for a demolition permit. Landmarks has suspended his application for demolition until next fall, a move that one person close to the process says may be nearly unheard of in Madison.

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CommuniTree Vandalized by Cowardly Art Critic(s)

Graffiti mark applied to tree was pathetic attempt at protest

TreeVandal_CW

Courtesy: Caffeinated Politics.

The iron tree sculpture that welcomes those traveling eastbound on Williamson to the neighborhood was dedicated Friday (September 12) in a ceremony at Bandung restaurant due to rain.

Named the CommuniTree, the 32-foot tall sculpture stands in the median of Willy street adjacent to Machinery Row and the Gateway Shopping Center.

The tree was erected on August 3, garnering some praise and some comments of disdain; such as describing the tree as akin to a toilet brush, according to the Caffeinated Politics Blog.

In the days before it was dedicated last Friday, someone or several painted a yellow dot on the side of the tree. The dot was likely meant to mimic the City of Madison’s method for identifying trees that need to be removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer.

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Greenspace Possibly Returning to Willy Street

Neighborhood examines dearth of open space and benefits of demolition

1018 Williamson  may be demolished and turned into greenspace.

1018 Williamson may be demolished and turned into greenspace.

Petinary owner Dr. Mike Kohn has has applied for a demolition permit for 1018 Williamson Street, a circa 1895  home that has not been occupied since he purchased it in 1992. The application will be discussed at the Marquette Neighborhood Association Preservation & Development meeting Tuesday September 9 at 5:30 p.m.

In the application, Jim Glueck, of Glueck Architects who represents Kohn, outlined several seemingly fatal flaws with the building that render it unusable an impractical for restoration. Glueck noted in the application and also confirmed to Willy Street Blog that the site will be restored to greenspace with no further plans to develop.

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Orton Fest to Celebrate Survival

Park continues to triumph over tornados, boulevards and development

Anders Osborn during last year's Orton Park Festival.

Anders Osborn during the 2012 Orton Park Festival.

In its long history, Orton Park has had to survive many threats. In 1924 the City of Madison proposed a boulevard with a 12-foot median that would bisect the park. Proponents argued this would improve traffic flow from King Street to the Eastside following the recently opened Rutledge Street bridge across the Yahara. It seems that this route had become a very popular artery for “far” Eastsiders who wanted to avoid railroad crossings at Williamson Street and Atwood Avenue.

The opposition to that project ninety years ago echoes the same reasons why today’s residents guard the tranquility of Madison’s oldest park: its too popular with children. The festival, begun in the middle 1960s, is in its 49th year and grew out of general neighborhood organizing against various development schemes and for neighborhood strength and cohesion.

In the last days of spring, despite rabid stewardship over the years by park lovers including the Friends of Orton Park, Mother Nature also attempted to remake the land when an EF-1 tornado barreled through the Marquette neighborhood early on June 17. While some trees were lost, the park never lost face with even the fallen trees repurposed in a resourceful way.

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