Rendering of proposed buildings at Gardner Bakery site

Four buildings could be constructed at the old Gardner Bakery site. 

Several development proposals are taking shape with a goal of providing high density to their respective neighborhoods while also requiring major redevelopments of the proposed sites.

Threshold Development, led by local developer Tyler Krupp, is revamping a 2020 development project (that had previously received approval) for 3900 Monona Drive which could add density to a burgeoning area.

The proposal calls for the demolition of four buildings and a surface parking lot to construct a five-story, 69-unit building with two separate commercial spaces and underground parking.

Java Cat Coffee shop, which currently occupies one of the four buildings proposed for demolition, would move into one of the commercial spaces in the new building. UW Credit Union would open a branch in the other commercial space.

“We have been in conversations with Java Cat from the very beginning,” Krupp said. “Java Cat is a beloved neighborhood business and community gathering place, and we believe it’s important to retain them on site.”

In 2020, Threshold received approval for a different version of this project. At that time the project site included the shopping center along the end of Cottage Grove Road. The shopping center was to be demolished as part of the project but Krupp said that some of the tenants will continue with their leases, so he removed the area from the project.

“We didn’t move forward with the prior project as the owner was not able to negotiate relocation of one of the commercial tenants,” Krupp said. “Our understanding is that he’s since signed leases with additional tenants… and that the shopping center will continue as a shopping center.”

The project would bring density to a growing corridor at the corner of Monona Drive and Cottage Grove Road. Some projects, including the new Pinney Library and the Ace Apartments, have been constructed near Krupp’s project during the past couple of years. The proximity to local favorite spots such as Olbrich Gardens, Michael’s Frozen Custard and Lake Monona make it a strong location for a new building, he said.

“This site is a prime corner location with great connections on a corridor that is fast becoming a highly walkable, complete neighborhood,” Krupp said. “High traffic counts should support commercial tenants and residents will benefit from proximity to public transportation, bike trails, Olbrich Park, Pinney Library, and lake views from the upper floor."

The owner of Java Cat was not available for comment.

The project needs to receive a conditional use permit from the Plan Commission and is scheduled to make a presentation there on June 13. If approval is granted, Krupp anticipates construction would begin in spring 2023.

Gardner Bakery redevelopment

Development at the site of the old Gardner Bakery (which has been operated most recently by Bimbo Bakery) at 3401 E. Washington Ave. has also been formally proposed.

The project would include the demolition of the current Gardner Bakery building, which has been vacant since 2019, and multiple buildings would be constructed at the site:

  • A two-story, 12-unit building with three-bedroom townhomes
  • A five-story, 77-unit building with a mixture of 1-3 bedroom units, a community room, and 3,500 square feet of commercial space
  • A three-story, 46-unit building
  • A five-story, 110-unit building that would include a rooftop plaza.

The proposal also includes the creation of a large public green space which would serve as a transition between the buildings and nearby Hawthorne Elementary School.

Wonder Bar update

At the June 13 meeting, the Plan Commission is also scheduled to review updated plans for the site of the old Wonder Bar and Coliseum Bar at 222-232 E. Olin Ave.

McGrath Properties, a local developer, has plans to construct a 12-story building on the site. The building would have 192 units and the two-story Wonder Bar would remain on the site with minor work done at the rear of the Wonder Bar to remove old kitchen-related equipment.

The Coliseum Bar would be demolished.

The project has undergone several iterations and the development team has worked to ensure that the Wonder Bar is preserved. Originally slated for demolition as part of the project, the development team decided to keep the Wonder Bar on-site following public opposition as well as logistical complications about moving it to a different site.

Originally, the project was slated to be an 18-story building that would have brought a high level of market-rate density to the Alliant Energy Center area.

But on July 26, 2021, the Plan Commission failed to approve the project (a motion to approve the project failed to gain a second, and the proposal was placed on file) and McGrath was forced to submit a new proposal.

OLIV moves forward

As many residents around State Street and downtown Madison have no doubt noticed, the demolition of the Casa De Lara building and the buildings which held Community Pharmacy and A Room of One’s Own bookstore have been completed. The construction of a stepped-back, 10-story building named Oliv Madison will be built in place of the former businesses alongside West Gorham, West Johnson and State streets.

The Oliv will be a 386-unit student housing building with a portion of the space — approximately 113 beds — available for students at discounted rates. It is expected to open by fall 2024.

Nau-Ti-Gal to be demolished?

LZ Ventures, a local development company, is proposing a project at the site of the Nau-Ti-Gal just outside of Madison’s far north side at 5360 Westport Road.

The proposal calls for the demolition of the Nau-Ti-Gal restaurant, which has been there since 1982, and the construction of a six-story, 140-unit building with a clubhouse facility and onsite pool. The proposal would require a rezoning of the site area.

The restaurant has been temporarily 'closed 'til Spring,' according to its website.

The Westport Plan Commission is reviewing the proposal on Monday night.

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