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Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

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Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby jjoyce » Wed May 01, 2013 10:09 am

There was some initial outcry last week at the thought of State Street losing important restaurants like Husnu's, Kabul and Buraka when the University Inn is razed to make way for a new development.

Well, that new development has a proposed concept: "The Hub." Here is conceptual rendering of the building, which should not be confused with an actual proposal or architectural sketch:

Image

For reference, the nearest corner would be at State and Francis. You're looking up State to the left and down Francis to the right.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby rabble » Wed May 01, 2013 10:19 am

"We understand that today's needs for student housing should not be compared to what our residents' parents had. Or even their older siblings," reads an online introduction to the Hub at ASU. "Times are different. Hub is different. The Hub doesn't wonder whether or not our residents need access to tanning beds in the middle of the desert. We simply say, why shouldn't they."

Can someone explain that last sentence to me? Are they saying they're going to put tanning beds in the desert because why not?
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 01, 2013 2:05 pm

That's the same principle as selling ice on the south pole.

While that big surface parking lot can't stay undeveloped forever, the idea of building more luxury (or "amenity-rich") student apartments when students and their families are complaining about ever-rising tuition seems backward. At some point, either they'll run out of students with big budgets or all the students will be full-tuition people of means from other parts of the country or other parts of the world. I can't believe your average kid from Rhinelander or wherever wants, needs, or can afford all this.

They're not asking for TIF, which means the city won't do a study to see whether there's actually a market for more of this housing. Mullins et al are on their own, and they've accumulated these properties and let them fall apart for decades so they could make this happen. For instance on the assessor's page, I see they bought 529 State back in 1974 for $154K, which means they've been sitting on it nearly 40 years.*

I laugh to think they tried to accommodate the students by revealing the project right before finals. That's bull. They want to complete the approval process while the students are away for the summer, and everybody knows it.

Too bad there's no way to hold out for good, reasonably-priced student housing instead of this palace with a rooftop pool, but there isn't. It's hard to argue the open space should stay open, or there's anything of value in the present buildings except for the front of the terra-cotta one. There's no "urban fabric" to preserve, and there are good arguments for better land use.

I feel really bad for Husnu's and the other little restaurants, who haven't got a prayer of finding similarly affordable space near campus, and I feel bad for the students who want non-chain-restaurant food during the winter when the carts aren't out.

*Sales information for the rest of the Mullins properties on the odd side of 500 State is "not available" including to the city page -- that's highly unusual and I've only seen it previously on properties that have not changed hands since the early 70s so the records aren't digitized. ??
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 01, 2013 3:08 pm

snoqueen wrote:I feel bad for the students who want non-chain-restaurant food during the winter when the carts aren't out.


Actually, there were a handful of carts that were out all winter. It was great. Also, there are still a ton of non chain restaurants on State Street. They way outnumber the chain restaurants. As proof that students prefer non chain, all of the restaurants on the second floor of U square closed. They were as chainy as chain can get.

snoqueen wrote:They're not asking for TIF, which means the city won't do a study to see whether there's actually a market for more of this housing.


Do you think they would sink all of this money into a project if they as a company didn't think there was a demand.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby rabble » Wed May 01, 2013 4:07 pm

Stebben84 wrote:Do you think they would sink all of this money into a project if they as a company didn't think there was a demand.

You mean, like that big empty place where Willy Coop was going to go?

I'm not completely certain that they might be building it just to sell it off once it's partly done but even if they think there's going to be a demand, that doesn't mean there will actually BE one.

Sno's right, it's a little illogical that we need to lower tuition so the students can have luxury housing.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby jman111 » Wed May 01, 2013 4:12 pm

How can we expect undergrads to succeed without stainless steel appliances and private pools?
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby jman111 » Wed May 01, 2013 4:14 pm

But seriously, the problems associated with rising tuition rates do not seriously impact those who will choose to reside in the hub.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby minicat » Wed May 01, 2013 4:21 pm

jman111 wrote:But seriously, the problems associated with rising tuition rates do not seriously impact those who will choose to reside in the hub.


Exactly.

Just another sign of America's continuing decline into a feudal system. Barf.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 01, 2013 5:11 pm

Do you think they would sink all of this money into a project if they as a company didn't think there was a demand.


I dunno, but a bunch of developers way, way overbuilt the luxury condo market six years ago or so and we're still digging our way out of that one.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby MarcoPolo » Thu May 02, 2013 9:04 am

Stebben84 wrote:
snoqueen wrote:I feel bad for the students who want non-chain-restaurant food during the winter when the carts aren't out.


Actually, there were a handful of carts that were out all winter. It was great. Also, there are still a ton of non chain restaurants on State Street. They way outnumber the chain restaurants. As proof that students prefer non chain, all of the restaurants on the second floor of U square closed. They were as chainy as chain can get.

snoqueen wrote:They're not asking for TIF, which means the city won't do a study to see whether there's actually a market for more of this housing.


Do you think they would sink all of this money into a project if they as a company didn't think there was a demand.


The U-Square places went out of business because they were poorly located off east campus mall and generated no foot traffic. If they were ground level they likely would have stayed in business. Same is true of the three businesses that tanked in under two years on the second level of the building around State and Gilman, where Redamte currently resides. I have been living in the downtown area for years and other than Ians and a handful of Asian places, the most popular places are Chipolte, Qdoba, Jimmy Johns and Subway not local places(except maybe around bar time). I have already heard from folks that think this project will be the arrival of a mall atmosphere on state street.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby Stebben84 » Thu May 02, 2013 10:24 am

And I've worked downtown for 18 years. I eat out for lunch quite a bit and here is what I see. Dotty's, always busy. Med Cafe, line out the door every day. Himalchuli(yes small) always busy. Kabul, always busy.
Sunprint(second floor) always busy...

This is just to name a few. I won't disagree that Chipotle, Qdoba, and others listed are also popular. Some has to do with quickness. A lot is familiarity and lack of ambitious eating(many out of towners are afraid to try something new)

There are still so many unique places on State Street that I just can't buy that it's turning into a mall. Just my humble opinion.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby rabble » Thu May 02, 2013 10:41 am

MarcoPolo wrote:
Stebben84 wrote: As proof that students prefer non chain, all of the restaurants on the second floor of U square closed. They were as chainy as chain can get.


The U-Square places went out of business because they were poorly located off east campus mall and generated no foot traffic. If they were ground level they likely would have stayed in business.

No argument at all that putting U square up two flights of stairs was stupid as stupid can get. I think they were depending on residents for most of their business and if it had been on the ground they might still be there.

But Union South is nothing but mall food and the only one with a line (one hell of a line) at lunch time is the Asian place. The rest of them, not much, considering the location. The carts on Dayton get about the same crowds or better as those greasy pizza and assemble by the numbers multinational food chain places. QQ Express, the Library, they look like they're doing better for lunch than those chains in Union South.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby Stebben84 » Thu May 02, 2013 11:45 am

I forgot to add that the carts in Library Mall are JAM PACKED right now and not one of those is chain food. And we keep getting more and more each year. Granted, they're not right on State and probably because rent is so high, but I'm just trying to show that students do like food other than the chain restaurants.

I agree that the second floor was a poor choice for those restaurants, but those places weren't just chains, they were straight up shitty mall chains. At least Chipotle tastes good.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby msnflyer » Thu May 02, 2013 1:33 pm

The Hub should be on the square where it was before, same block as Rennebohm's.

The food carts in Research Park were mobbed yesterday. It was the first of their weekly visits, most ran out of food before they ran out of customers. Wonder what affect Hy Vee's opening will have on them.
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Re: Coming to State Street: "The Hub"

Postby jjoyce » Thu May 02, 2013 1:57 pm

Food carts are huge and I don't think the arrival of a large grocery store will have any effect, particularly since the carts are only at research park once a week (right?).

The food cart situation is pretty interesting in Madison and whoever designs State Street's 700-800 blocks is going to have to accommodate them in a creative way, especially now that some operate 12 months/year. I'm sure that in retrospect, the design of the cap square might have been different due to the cart explosion. Some corners work better than others, but it seems like there should have been better electricity access planned.

I can't wait for all the digging on Library and State Street malls to be done. That area ought to be the UW's showcase and it's looked like an abandoned skate park for years now.
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