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East Washington..... anything coming?

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Postby narcoleptish » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:06 pm

Tall new buildings aside, I think the more immediate concern should be better use of what's there, any use really. Not to keep harping on the Mullins family, but when you control such a big chunk of the eastern "doorway" to the isthmus I think you at least owe it to the city to share a vision, if there is one, with us. The marquip factory block sits there, paying rock-bottom industrial-use property taxes, waiting for what? Another marquip? It's not going to happen. At least put a goddamn niteclub in the baldwin st. overpass. Biggest fucking vacant waste of a cool space in this city.
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Postby Bwis53 » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:53 pm

Is Mullins hard to work with?

Does he have any ideas?

Can someone present him with ideas?

I'm asking because, I once asked him about the mysterious house across his office side yard. (house discussed on DPF long ago.) His response was an obtuse, what house? I felt like I was asking Igor about his hump.

I say the above, because I'm wondering, what's stalling things?

Sometimes, it takes other developments, like HyVee taking over the old Kmart site, and maybe an eastside hospital, to inspire some momentum.
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Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:57 am

Bwis53 wrote:Is Mullins hard to work with?

Old man Mullins liked to sit on properties and wait. He is basically out of the picture now (his health is failing) and his two sons have taken over. One is an attorney, the other an engineer. They had some big projects going in Florida recently. Don't know how active they are with plans for their numerous Madison properties.
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Postby @wood » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:54 am

[quote="Bwis53"]

I say the above, because I'm wondering, what's stalling things?

[quote]

No employers interested, no developers incented, city blew it re: Gorman. You need to take what you can get, not wait for what you want. This is why city planning (aka Urban Planning) is a farce when it comes to block by block control. The East Wash "plan" is a fiasco and it will go into a drawer with all the other "plans". City growth is incremental and takes unexpected turns. And, it was critically important to get a TIF generator on E. Wash. The city blew it. They had a decent project in hand, and they blew it (re: TIF). As for the Mullins, they just need to trust someone to devcelop their properties. But they don't, and they only have so many hours in a day. If a major company stepped up and said "We want to come here and make E. Wash happen" even the Mullins would move to accommodate. Work on getting a major business to locate there instead of griping.
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Postby Bwis53 » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:31 am

Thanks, I think.

I was gone during the time period when JC Penney's left the Square. A building took it's place and I don't know how that happened. I still like to think my letter to Starbucks drew their attention to that space. My letter to the mayor's office got no coffee for Monona Terrace, at that time.

I think East Washington has great potential and I wonder why it isn't developing like University Avenue.
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Postby Elrond » Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:18 pm

I'm about to move into a very fancy apartment on E Wash that I couldn't have afforded anywhere else remotely near downtown. Don't develop us out of cheap rent!
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Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:28 pm

I don't think much more is going to get developed until the real estate market recovers.

Some time after the Cyborg wars of 2037.
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Postby Ed Breakfast » Sat Dec 01, 2007 3:57 am

East Wash is our best opportunity for a fantastic mix of high density housing (much of it affordable), commercial, and even light industrial (with an emphasis on high-tech and biotech). A huge part of this, of course, is transit. Streetcars could have (and should have) been a big part of it. I sure as hell hope the County can make the recommendations of Transport 2020 pan out. This is our future. I hope that perception-based policy making won't (continue to) fuck it up. I'm generally an optimist, but recent actions make it difficult.
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Postby Bwis53 » Sat Dec 01, 2007 8:55 am

I agree on the potential for E. Wash.

I don't think lack of forthcoming developement, in our 40 lashes with a wet noodle of "no streetcar or trolly", is a big deterent. There are a number of buses that go up and down East Wash.. And I sure hope this isn't another trolly detour.

I'm 57, and I hope it doesn't take until I'm 75, before E.Wash. become a real (affordable and vibrant) neighborhood again. Hell, if I notified Starbucks about their Square location, maybe I'll start pitching a few others.
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Postby Ed Breakfast » Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:58 pm

I apologize for the noodle whackery. I just don't like this trend of making decisions based on perceptions rather than data. In the case of streetcars, opponents were on the attack long before the study committee had a chance to do its work. It didn't help that it became the central issue in a mayoral election that had Mayor Dave's opponents desperately looking for any ammunition they could find. I think much of the opposition to streetcars was directed more at Mayor Dave, and progressives in general, than it was to a particular transit technology. Then there was the ridiculous notion that City Hall was unable to deal with public safety because it was too busy with streetcars. At the end of the day, I just think this is a terrible way to make public policy.

I certainly don't want to turn this into a streetcar thread. I just think that the kind of development opportunities that exist on East Wash would be well served by vastly improved transit, whether it's streetcars, light rail, commuter rail, more/better buses, or a combination of technologies. Hell, I still think East Wash would be an excellent monorail corridor.

Dense development along East Wash has to be done in a way that does as little harm as possible to the surrounding neighborhoods. The number of automobiles that come with that development needs to be limited. Traffic already has a detrimental affect in both the second and sixth aldermanic districts, and a big increase in that traffic could be disastrous.
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Postby uwstudent » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:29 pm

@wood wrote: Work on getting a major business to locate there instead of griping.


Is that why Epic moved out to Verona?
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Postby scottyp65 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:38 pm

Like it or not, E. Wash will always be a traffic corridor. Big developments will naturally create traffic on secondary roads, but that can't be helped. It comes from the center of a city being built on an isthmus.

This is how I honestly see E. Wash corridor development going down...

First of all, nothing much is going to happen until 2008 when the housing market stuff works itself out. Madison will be one of the first places in midwest to turn around since we still have growing population and a good employment outlook. Next big boom areas of the city will be far east, and northeast with Waunakee and Sun Prairie for housing. This will start focusing attention on E wash even more with additional traffic. Also by this time next year I would expect to see solid planning start to happen on light rail. This will work to spur E. Wash even more.

The final pieces will be the park, and a major office complex as a large, probably biotech, firm locates headquarters there. You will then see all sorts of proposals for condos, multistory retail/apartment complexes, office buildings being proposed. I predict within 5 years we will be complaining on the pace of development and on the sprawl that will turn the far east side into a copy of the far west side.
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Postby fennel » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:30 pm

scottyp65 wrote:I predict within 5 years we will be complaining on the pace of development and on the sprawl that will turn the far east side into a copy of the far west side.

But, sadly, a copy that is less the trees or less the tangible distance between dwellings. Or less the mind-numbing roar of overflights to or from MSN ...

This is sad because the east end is really the only part left where there is local community attachment to infrastructure. Everywhere else, it's based on schlepping one's ass into a car (or a remarkably well-equipped bike), then traversing unfathomably deep open sewers of commuter flow, to connect with the other integral parts of one's own community.

Ugh. Tell me there's hope.
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Postby Eastsider » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:20 am

Any sane person would have leased the Marquip/Gisholt building in chunks, rather than waiting to land the single big tenant that will never come. After all these years they finally put out the "for lease" signs, which point to a website that doesn't even exist. http://www.mullinsgroup.com/

I remember one plan commission mtg where the East Wash BUILD plan was being discussed and one of the Mullins boys got up there and complained about how difficult it is to rent those buildings. He recounted a story about how once they ALMOST had an interested party for Marquip, but then they backed out because they said the neighborhood looked "too run down." Well no shit, who do you think owns the entire surrounding neighborhood?

When the Marquip sign was still up it at least gave the illusion that something was happening there.
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Postby snoqueen » Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:30 pm

I think I was at that same meeting. Brad Mullins, who sat through the entire long sequence of BUILD meetings, participated very little except for occasions when it looked someone was going to propose limitations on what the family could do with their properties. They he'd let loose with a tirade on how his family would look very dimly on any restrictions to their royal sovereignty. Somewhat to my amazement, the entire committee treated him with kid gloves, rolled over and let him have pretty much anything he asked. It would be worse, but since their company has done virtually nothing with their properties for decades I don't think we've got a lot to worry about.

So there it all sits rotting: Marquip, the Fyfe's property, the old Trachte property (right on the Yahara Parkway, a really nice enclosed hillside site), and much more. Some people leave legacies, other people leave blocks and blocks of abandoned buildings.

The good thing is all the activity along Wilson Street and the south edge of the Central Park. I think that's where the energy will be coming from, not poor old East Wash. It'll seep over to the Wash in a few years, but not because of any grand plan or city leadership. I think you'll see development move across S. Baldwin and maybe jump over Marquip to E. Wash and along the river in a few years. The attractive new Yahara Bridge and parkway don't hurt at all; the bike path and the riverside apartments behind Mickey's are seeds of change on the way.
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