Restaurant considered for day shelter

The site of Bellini Italian Restaurant could soon become the new home of a long-sought homeless day center, if Madison and Dane County officials deem it worthy.

The restaurant and three neighboring homes, located just three blocks from the Capitol Square, are currently on the market for $1.3 million. City and county officials have reportedly done a walkthrough of the site and are now in the process of conducting a feasibility study to determine if the building will be sufficient for the proposed homeless shelter’s needs. The county has budgeted $2.6 million for property acquisition, renovations, and improvements for the day center.

Homeless advocates raised concerns last year about another proposed site for the shelter, at the building now occupied by Hospitality House and owned by the homeless services organization Porchlight at 1490 Martin St. in the town of Madison. That site wasn’t considered ideal because it’s too far from downtown.

County officials say the proposed day center will offer counseling, job skills training, laundry, showers, rest rooms, and storage for the homeless.