By Paul Snyder
Development along John Nolen Drive in Madison remains at the mercy of an unfriendly economy, a tenuous commercial market and city planners indifferent to helping the corridor.
Despite teeming with proposals last year for hotels and mixed-use projects, not one of the proposals has turned into construction work yet, and it could stay that way for years.
Tom Arnot, owner of De Pere-based Beechwood Development LLC, proposed one of those hotels and announced this summer that a lack of available credit from any banks nixed his project.
He said the city’s abundance of vacant commercial properties will continue to deter developers from pushing more proposals to the area until the economy rebounds, and he said he does not expect that any time soon.
The city is also focusing on other corridors, said Mark Olinger, Madison’s director of planning and development. He said he thinks John Nolen Drive can take care of itself.
But Alderman Tim Bruer, who represents the district, said he wants to see more work put in to secure projects and not just proposals.
Bruer called the corridor a “sleeping giant” for development opportunity and said it has been painful to see so little take root.