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Madison City Council Approves Housing Development Proposal in Reconsideration Vote

The Madison City Council voted 17-2 last night to approve a development proposal that will add student apartments downtown. The proposal was previously rejected by the Council at a June 20 meeting.

Core Spaces, a Chicago-based developer, proposed the building of the 12-story tower that will add 851 beds across 232 units in a 12-story tower. Under the proposal, named “Johnson and Bassett,” eleven existing buildings will be demolished on the 400 block of West Dayton and Johnson streets and 200 block of North Bassett Street.

District 8 Ald. MGR Govindarajan, who represents student areas, voted against the proposal — stating “luxury” apartments do not provide the type of housing students need, since many of the amenities in the apartment are already available to students through the university.

District 6 Ald. Marsha Rummel also voted against the proposal, and District 12 Ald. Amani Latimer Burris abstained from voting.

Core Spaces has worked to develop other properties in Madison, including The James, The Hub and, most recently, Oliv Madison on the corner of State Street and West Gorham Street — which reserves 10% of its units for a 40% cost reduction, prioritized for low-income students.

The Council’s rejection of Core Spaces’ Johnson and Bassett proposal was in part due to the lack of low-cost units in the building.

The day after the Council rejected the proposal, Core Spaces withdrew an application for an additional 14-story student housing project — that would include lower-cost units — at Johnson and Broom. The development team told the Council Tuesday that the Johnson and Broom project would not be financially viable if the Johnson and Bassett project is delayed further.

At the meeting, current and former University of Wisconsin students made statements before the Council — sharing their experiences and frustrations with finding housing options amid Madison’s housing shortage. Members of the Wisconsin Carpenters Union also delivered statements, emphasizing the job opportunities this project would bring, and the economic benefits this would have for the city of Madison.

UW professor of urban planning Kurt Paulsen answered questions from council members, explaining the vacancies and price pressures of Madison’s housing market.

With the Council’s approval of the proposal, Core Spaces’ Johnson and Bassett project is expected to be delivered by 2026.

Source: Badger Herarld