Living in ‘The Moment’ is on the horizon

Perhaps the most talked about building in Madison in recent months is still standing at 131 W. Wilson St., but if everything goes smoothly, a nearly three-year process of approval, demolition, and reconstruction will lead to one of Madison’s most modern, amenity-rich apartment buildings.

Today, developer Terrence Wall, president and CEO of T. Wall Enterprises, expects to present initial plans for a 15-story building with 263 multifamily units, three stories of underground parking, and commercial elements on the first and second floor. To be named The Moment, it would eventually replace an existing building that once housed Paisan’s restaurant and was closed when the city of Madison deemed it unsafe to occupy.

As the project goes before the Madison Urban Design Commission, the property is already zoned for multifamily use. According to project manager Jake Bunz, the first story will feature Wilson Street frontage and retail space in the form of a coffee shop, and the second story will have approximately 5,000 square feet of commercial space split between a fitness center and a yet-to-be-named office tenant, plus several of the building’s special amenities and several apartments. Meanwhile, floors three through 15 will feature well apportioned, mostly market-rate apartment units.

Wall says the proposed 377,351-square-foot structure would be “the best apartment building in town” in terms of its quality, construction, and finishes. “The amenity package is enormous,” he adds. “This is intended to be really nice. It kind of sets a new class of building.”

Living in The Moment

The building outline features a unit mix of 32 micros, 75 studios, 48 one-bedroom, 69 two-bedroom units, and 13 three-bedroom units. An additional 25 one-bedroom units would feature a den, as would one of the two-bedroom units. Each apartment will have an outdoor balcony and the top floor will feature a wrap-around balcony. Penthouse suites on the top floor will be larger and more luxurious with floor-to-ceiling glass, luxury brand appliances, and other amenities to be “quite a step up from the standard units,” Wall says.

The second floor also will include an outdoor pool and hot tub. The fitness center will have a yoga studio and outdoor turf area, and business professionals would have access to a coworking lounge with private meeting rooms with TV screens set up for Zoom calls.

Other building amenities include an indoor lounge, a movie theater room, a sauna and/or steam room, a catering kitchen and dining room, a bar area and community game room, and a golf simulator.

Wall says the new structure also will be built with the community’s energy future in mind. Of the roughly 251 underground parking stalls, 10% initially will have electric vehicle charging stations while 100% will be wired to accommodate future EV charging stations. “The building is being built so that we later can install more charging stations to get to 100% of the parking,” states Wall, who notes his company will partner with Madison Gas and Electric on this aspect of the project. “We just think that eventually, most cars will be electric, and you have to build the building that way.”

There also will be bike and scooter charging stations, photovoltaic-ready rooftop construction, high-efficiency glass, energy-efficient appliances, and LED lighting throughout the building. A section of green roof remains a possibility.

In addition, the facility will offer private storage areas, interior bike storage and maintenance space, a pet wash area and exterior dog run, and an interior trash room with garbage and recycling chutes. Residents also will have access to a private, secure garage area where larger vehicles can park, and a two-story lobby with large package storage and refrigerated storage for grocery delivery.

Floor-by-floor demolition

Due to the many environmental downsides of implosion, demolition will be done floor by floor over an eight-month period beginning this October. Construction of the new building would begin in July 2023 and continue over the following 18 months, with the new building opening in the first quarter of 2025.

A floor-by-floor demolition takes more time and is more expensive, but neighbors will avoid a dusty disturbance. “We looked at imploding the building, but with the site constraints and the amount of dust it would create, we felt that wasn’t the right thing to do, so we’re actually hiring a demolition contractor who will take down the building floor by floor,” Wall explains. “They basically dump the debris into the elevator shaft and then they pull it out of the elevator shaft at the bottom and put it into a truck.”

Meantime, the existing building, whose exterior walls are bowing out due to the deterioration of inner steel, is being supported by shoring posts until the demolition permit is completed. “We don’t have the [demolition] permit yet but we have the approval,” Wall notes. “We’re just anxious to get it down and to remove the safety hazard. It will be interesting. It has to be a tower crane that goes up for the demolition. They bring up Bobcats [construction equipment] on the crane and set them on the roof. It should be really interesting video.”

Before that happens, T. Wall Enterprises will take inventory of the remaining furnishings, fixtures, and equipment and donate anything useable to local nonprofit organizations.

The possibility of affordable units is still being discussed with the city, and the percentage of them among the 263 units would be dependent on tax increment financing. “We’re just starting the conversation on that,” Wall says.

A meeting with representatives of the Basset neighborhood was scheduled for Wednesday evening, but it wasn’t the first such contact. While the plans were not fully developed at earlier discussions, Bunz says there was general support for a mixed-use development with multifamily housing on the site.

A detailed construction price will be available in about three weeks. Other than the possibility of TIF, financing pieces would include a construction loan from State Bank of Cross Plains, which will be renamed Lake Ridge Bank as part of its merger with Monona Bank. According to Wall, after the structure is built and occupied, T. Wall Properties will take out a long-term loan with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or an insurance company.

While T. Wall Enterprises has yet to commit to a general contractor, the project architect is Kirk Keller of Plunkett Raysich Architects.

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