A Madison developer is willing to bypass a neighborhood vetting of an $8.5 million housing project.
“We might just have to be in agreement to disagree,” said Steve Yoder, president of Apex Enterprises.
Yoder said his firm has spent almost two years discussing the multibuilding project with the Marquette Neighborhood Association. The project on Winnebago Street would include renovating a 22-unit apartment building, constructing a 23-unit building, renovating and moving a two-family house, building a new house and installing underground parking.
But project neighbors, without citing a specific sticking point, generally oppose the project.
“It’s a site that I don’t think anyone would think should be first for development,” said Scott Thornton, president of the neighborhood association. “Part of the resistance is that it seems quite out of place.”
If the two sides cannot iron out their differences by the end of a May 17 neighborhood association meeting, Yoder said, Apex will approach the city for project approval.
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But the alderwoman who represents the district said she, at least, is not ready to support the proposal.
“There’s not any excitement about it,” Marsha Rummel said. “I think it’s more dense than what some people think would be appropriate.”
Apex will present the project to the Madison Urban Design Commission on Wednesday, and Rummel, a member of the commission, said she realizes Apex has worked with the neighborhood for a long time, but she wants more details.
“I think it’s possible for some kind of agreement to come out of these discussions,” he said. “But I’m not sure it will be for this.”
Apex first proposed two sets of row houses along Winnebago and Merry streets, but neighbors rejected those plans, prompting Apex to pull together a bigger project for the area. Apex is targeting the property, Yoder said, because it owns the land and the neighborhood plan calls for more residential development.
He said he expected neighborhood opposition but will not give up on the project.
“We want to do this in conjunction with the neighborhood association’s need, and I think Marsha’s vote on the project is critical,” Yoder said. “But if it gets to the point where we just say, ‘All right, you win,’ then that would be a real shame because this is a large, vacant lot and a great location.”