Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blog Post No. 2011-10: Block 89, Madison, WI

Redevelopment requires patience, my friends...

Location: Block 89 (bounded by East Main, South Pinckney, East Doty, and King streets), Madison, Wisconsin

Map and Images: Here and here.

The Story: So, your faithful RTUF correspondent has been out in Madison, WI, for CNU 19 for the last couple of days. It's been fun reconnecting with the NUers from outside of New England (and even a few of my fellow regional denizens). I'm leaving a bit early and so going to miss the "Mano-a-Mano at Monona," a.k.a., the Saturday evening plenary that will close the Congress in which Andres Duany and Charles Waldheim will discuss what New Urbanism and Landscape Urbanism. As a quick aside here, I have almost lived up to my promise to read the Landscape Urbanism Reader and give you, RTUF's vast and influential readership, my own personal take on the NU-LU dispute. Loook for that dispatch in the next couple of weeks.

But, to return to the title of this post: we are stepping outside of the Boston focus of the blog today to highlight the great, but painstaking work that was required to turn a piece of once-failing urban fabric in the heart of Madison into a great urban block -- Block 89. I went to a session this morning on financing mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented projects and heard Thomas Neujahr, one of the principals of Urban Land Interests, the project's developer, walk through the project's complex financing and buildout approach, which used a combination of municipal tax increment financing,  and a redevelopment district plus patient and carefully considered phasing over a 20-year period, starting in the mid-1980s at pretty much the nadir of downtown-located retail and mixed-use in Madison as well as the country as a whole. His presentation included aerial before and after photos of the block that I will post as soon as I can access the dropbox where the presentation has been uploaded.

Madison, by the way, is a great town. The area between the two lakes and focusing on the State Capitol and the University of Wisconsin's main campus was built out on a plan by John Nolen. The standard grid is broken by 4 radials centered on the capitol building that give the overall layout of the city a dintinctive character and focus. Since today is the opening day for Roslindale Square's seasonal farmer's market, it is worth noting that they have a very massive farmer's market -- the Dane County Farmer's Market -- on Saturdays that goes all the way around the state capitol on 4 sides. It's got to be the one of the biggest markets of its kind in the US, if not the biggest. Some photos here:

Photo 1: Bee stall with vendor and beehive hat.

Photo 2: Picked up some 8-year aged Wisconsin cheddar here.

Photo 3: It's pretty much a one-way loop all the way around.

Photo 4: They close off King from the capitol for a couple blocks. Block 89 is in the background.

Photo 5: This was some kind of a pie or other pastry eating contest featuring younger women in beauty contestant tiaras and sashes. Not sure what the guy with the cheesehead hat was doing.

No comments:

Post a Comment