–submitted by Bill Haight; photo by Jeff Smith
Brad Binkowski, who with Thomas Neujahr, is co-founder of Urban Land Interests, gave an overview of current developments on and around the Capitol Square.
ULI’s next project is a complete redevelopment of the Anchor Bank building, removing its dated precast panels, and adding a glass and stainless steel façade which will be “unlike anything you’ve seen in Madison,” said Binkowski.
In the Anchor project, as well as ULI’s Block 89 development, an essential component for success is replacing above grade parking with underground. Because of limited developable land and height restrictions, it’s impossible to create structures with street level energy and activity if above-ground parking is incorporated, said Binkowski. The Anchor project will have five levels of underground parking, extending under Carroll Street. Besides the Anchor property, there are only three more large sites downtown suitable for underground parking: the Judge Doyle Square development, The American Exchange Bank property, and the Braydon lot.
Epic is a significant driver of Madison’s growth, but it isn’t the only factor said Binkowski. Madison’s quality of life has attracted other firms, like office software company Zendesk, because it can find an ample workforce, without the extreme competition for talent and expense of cities like San Francisco. Among ULI’s residential tenants 56 percent came from outside Madison and their average age is 34. But just 26 percent work for Epic.
In 2011, 70 percent of ULI’s business tenants were from the legal, finance or government sectors. By 2015 that percentage has dropped to 64 percent, not because the traditional industries are shrinking, but because other sectors are growing much more rapidly. Restaurant tenants are up 29 percent and technology 143 percent. Those percentage changes, even from a smaller base, illustrate the shifting opportunity for growth, said Binkowski.
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