Plans to redevelop Madison’s Edgewater Hotel have reached the end of a long and winding road through the city’s legions of committees and boards.
Madison’s TIF Review Committee on Wednesday approved a controversial $16 million tax subsidy by expanding the State Street tax-incremental financing district to include the Edgewater Hotel at 666 Wisconsin Ave.
A TIF district lets municipalities borrow money to subsidize developments and pay for utility and street work that serve them. Communities then use new taxes generated by the projects to pay off the debt.
The Edgewater redevelopment remains hamstrung by a lawsuit — brought against the city by residents of Madison’s Mansion Hill Historic District — but faces no further obstacles from Madison.
“At the end of the day, this hasn’t been an easy one. I don’t think it is a slam dunk, but I do think it meets the tests,” committee member and Dane County Treasurer Dave Worzala said. “The city wants this. The city council is here saying this is what we want, and this is what the mayor wants.”
Brookfield-based Hammes Co. has estimated the $98 million project will generate more than 400 permanent jobs in addition to construction jobs created during the redevelopment. Although those numbers have been heavily scrutinized, committee chairman Gary Poulson said the redevelopment is certain to result in at least some high-paying jobs.
“The job situation is so critical that we need to put people back to work, and we will do it,” Poulson said.
The promise of major development comes at a desperate time for the construction industry, said Steve Breitlow of the Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin.
“Many, if not most, probably look at this as an interment of bricks and mortar,” Breitlow said. “In an unprecedented work shortage, it’s also an investment to (workers’) lives and their families.”