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Developer shares plan for 13-story office tower on Near East Side

October 11, 2018

The transformation of the East Washington Avenue corridor rolls on.

Developer Curt Brink is proposing a 13-story next phase of his Archipelago Village that’s rising across the street from Breese Stevens Field on the 900 block of the thoroughfare.

Brink is currently renovating a five-story, brick-facade building most recently used by Mautz Paint at the corner of East Washington Avenue and South Paterson Street and constructing a contemporary, five-floor structure next door to create the 144-room Hotel Indigo.

As that project proceeds, Brink is offering concepts for the second phase of the full block redevelopment, the 13-story, glass-sheathed office tower next to the hotel and fronting East Washington Avenue.

The proposed building would have first-floor commercial space with offices above, a green roof, and perhaps a child-care enterprise, Brink said.

The design by architects Potter Lawson would contrast from other high-rise buildings in the area, Brink said.

“We’re trying to do something more exciting with a little bit more of a cutting edge,” he said. “We know we’re going to refine it.”

The building could be built in two phases, with eight floors constructed first and five floors added later for a total 258,000 square feet of space, he said.

Brink said he intends to submit plans in November for an informational presentation likely the next month to the city’s Urban Design Commission.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, whose 6th District includes the site, had a positive first impression and will schedule a neighborhood meeting after Brink shares more details.

“Curt says there’s a demand for office space,” she said. “We have tried to create an employment district. I’m interested to see if the market is ready.”

On the design, Rummel said, “I like and embrace interesting architecture.”

Eventually, the full-block development could include another four phases with four more buildings offering more first-floor commercial space, office space and perhaps 100 apartments or condominiums, Brink said. The developer bought most of the block with major investors Jim and Marlene Korb for $3.3 million in 2002.

In under a decade, investment is dramatically transforming the 700 through 1000 blocks of East Washington Avenue from a strip of used-car lots, warehouses and asphalt to include:

Stone House Development’s recent proposal for an 11-story building with 120 apartments, 51,000 square feet of commercial space and a 290-space parking garage on the north side of the 1000 block with a new, four-story Madison Youth Arts center at the rear of the site.Stone House’s new, 11-story Lyric building with housing, office and retail space on the north side of the 1000 block.American Family’s new, eight-story Spark office building, which includes space for the tech hub StartingBlock Madison on the south side of the 800 block.Otto Gebhardt’s new, eight-story Gebhardt Building, which includes office space, the 2,500-capacity Sylvee concert venue and more on the south side of the 800 block.The city’s $18.7 million, 658-space parking garage and commercial space to serve the area on the corner of East Livingston and East Main streets.Gebhardt’s 14-story Galaxie project with housing, a Festival Foods grocery store, and parking on the north side of the 800 block.Gebhardt’s 12-story Constellation building with housing, commercial space and parking on the north side of the 700 block.Major improvements, including an artificial surface, at Breese Stevens Field on the north side of the 900 block.Brink’s two-story entertainment venue with the High Noon Saloon, Brass Ring restaurant and pool hall and Brink Lounge on the south side of the 700 block, one of the initial big projects on the avenue done in 2004.

“It’s what we’ve been hoping for,” Brink said of all the investment. “There’s now a momentum to where it’s getting real exciting.”

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