City Council reverses previous vote, approves ‘Johnson and Bassett’ housing project 

The Madison City Council last night approved a luxury student housing project it previously rejected after it was presented with additional facts and possible legal complications, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

The reversal of last month’s decision to deny rezoning of an area just east of the UW–Madison campus opens the door for Core Spaces of Chicago’s 12-story development, which would create 232 market-rate housing units at the 400 block of West Dayton and Johnson streets and the 200 block of North Bassett Street.

The project, called “Johnson and Bassett,” would demolish 10 residential buildings that currently stand in the area.

Council members previously cited the lack of low-cost units and student complaints about the proliferation of luxury apartment buildings as grounds for rejection, but after debate that persisted past 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, most on the council changed positions. The rezoning passed with a 17–2 vote with one abstention.

The project remains contentious, with some council members advocating for more low-cost housing to address the city’s housing crisis. The developer maintained that building more units will address that crisis, and said there is hope that skyrocketing rents will stabilize.

Under state law, the city cannot compel developers to include low-cost units in their projects, and council members are required to articulate their reasons for rezoning denials in the public record — a standard the city’s legal team felt was not met at the June 20 meeting.