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Madison McDonald’s places order to go, could bump library

By: admin//April 27, 2011//

Madison McDonald’s places order to go, could bump library

By: admin//April 27, 2011//

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A pedestrian bridge eclipses a McDonald's at 3051 E. Washington Ave. in Madison on Wednesday. The restaurant's owner is upset with the bridge, claiming it has hurt business. (Staff photos by Kevin Harnack)

By James Briggs

A McDonald’s franchise’s request to move is setting up a potential game of musical chairs on Madison’s east side.

Poynette-based Missoula Mac Inc. is seeking permission to move its McDonald’s franchise a few blocks east to the Madison East Shopping Center at 2800 E. Washington Ave.

The franchise’s prospective new home, though, is adjacent to the Hawthorne Branch of the Madison Public Library. If McDonald’s moves in, the library would stand to lose between 10 and 20 parking spaces.

Madison Alderwoman Marsha Rummel said she thought a move by McDonald’s also could cause an eventual move for the library.

“The Hawthorne library lease comes up in a few years,” she said. “If McDonald’s moves up in front of them, I think they’re going to look at their options as part of their due diligence.”

Rummel said the library could fit in well at an undeveloped parcel on East Washington called Union Corners, which the city bought last year for the sake of finding a future development. There have been no serious discussions about such a move, though, Rummel said.

Mark Benno, the library’s administrative services manager, said the Hawthorne lease expired in 2015, but there were no specific plans for how to adjust to a McDonald’s franchise as a new neighbor.

“Certainly, we’re concerned about the McDonald’s going in,” Benno said. “Obviously, (Rummel) is in a more powerful position to suggest (relocation), but we’re definitely concerned about the impact the McDonald’s might have.”

Madison last year awarded McDonald’s Corp. a $312,000 settlement stemming from a pedestrian bridge built in 2008 that blocked the view of eastbound drivers to the McDonald’s store.

Missoula Mac Vice President Mike Mangin said in November the pedestrian bridge, which was part of a $750 million upgrade to East Washington, continued to keep away customers.

Mangin did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon. Tripp Widder, chairman of the Madison Public Library Board, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In November, though, Widder mused over the continuing implications of the city’s decision to build an expansive pedestrian bridge.

A letter of intent filed with Madison indicates Missoula Mac plans to build a 4,591-square-foot restaurant near the library. The new restaurant would be open 24 hours a day, according to the letter of intent, and Missoula Mac wants to start construction in summer and wrap up the project within 90 days.

The project, though, appears to be running slightly behind schedule. McDonald’s USA LLC planned to make a formal request to the city Wednesday, but failed to file proper paperwork, a member of Madison’s planning department said.

“They didn’t have their ducks in a row and can’t get any approvals” this week, said Rebecca Cnare, a city planner.

McDonald’s USA was supposed to have given a formal presentation Wednesday to Madison’s Urban Design Commission, putting the project on a path to the Plan Commission. There’s no telling when that might happen now, though, Cnare said.

“We didn’t get our Plan Commission application from them,” she said, “so we’re still going to hold a public hearing. But there’s no action we’ll be able to take.”


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