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Saturday, November 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 29.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Urban Design Commission gives nod to "The Hub at Madison" development on State Street
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The most recent plans show an attempt to better integrate the Hub with the existing buildings on State Street.
Credit:Core Campus

The Urban Design Commission gave final approval with some conditions Wednesday for the "The Hub at Madison" -- a tall luxury housing and retail building proposed for the corner of State and Frances streets.

It was the third time the commission heard the proposal, which some fear won't mesh well with surrounding structures along Madison's beloved State Street.

The project is an almost 500,000-square-foot structure proposed by Core Campus Communities that would include retail spaces along State Street and a 12-story step-back with luxury apartment housing.

The commission's approval came with several conditions, including refining the facade on the corner of State and Frances, which calls for modern-looking steel elements.

The Chicago architecture firm, Antunovich Associates, made some design changes to the plan after hearing concerns from the UDC for a second time earlier this month.

The most recent plans show an attempt to better integrate the Hub with the existing buildings on State Street. The facades of the retail spaces are designed with different heights and widths to add variety to the streetscape pedestrians would see when walking past the building on State.

"That was our intent -- to make it a little playful," said Joseph Antunovich, president of Antunovich Associates, during Wednesday’s presentation.

Antunovich said his company would like to see local retailers lease the State Street spaces. But, he added that none have yet expressed serious interest, since the plans haven't been approved and construction hasn't begun.

Constructing a high-rise near State Street worries residents who value the street's charm and unique character. Many fear it will cast large shadows, although developers maintain that it would cast no more of a shadow than the surrounding four-story buildings.

"This city 125% doesn't need something like that," Mardee Dapin, a Madison native, told the commission Wednesday. "That would be a travesty and it would wipe-out the character in Madison and in my hometown."

The Plan Commission heard the proposal on July 22 and unanimously recommended that the Common Council approve it at its Aug. 6 meeting.

If the Council approves the project, the UDC will review it one more time on Aug. 7 to go over the conditional design details.

View illustrations of the Hub proposal in the application to the Urban Design Commission.

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