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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Overcast
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Proposals for East Washington now public
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Credit:The Rifkin proposal.

A committee looking at proposals for the old Don Miller car dealership site on East Washington Avenue is recommending the city accept two of them.

The committee is endorsing a proposal by the Rifkin Group to build a $24 million mixed-used energy-efficient development on the south side of the 800 block. On the north side of the 700 block, it is endorsing Gebhardt Development's $31.5 million proposal for a mixture of housing types, including 185 apartment units, 21 live/work lofts and 33,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The two proposals were selected from six for the site, which was purchased by the city late last year for $4.7 million, with the goal of redeveloping it.

A third proposal for the entire north 800 block of East Washington is still under discussion. Urban Land Interests has proposed five office and retail buildings on the site -- a total of 236,000 square feet of space.

Ald. Marsha Rummel says the committee liked Urban Land Interests' focus on bringing jobs to the area, but didn't like its phased-in development approach. "We don't want one developer to have an unknown timeline," she says. "But there were things they offered that we're still pursuing."

The proposals will now get a full public airing, and a public meeting is being scheduled for mid-August.

Matthew B. Mikolajewski, business resources manager for the city's Economic Development Division, says any of the proposals could change significantly -- or be rejected in favor of another one by the Common Council.

Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway notes that many design and financing questions need to be hashed out through a public process. But she's thrilled with the opportunity.

"The fact that we got the number and quality of proposals we did speaks to the opportunity in the district," she says. "And that I find exciting."

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