Treysta on the Water set to break ground on Monona’s waterfront

When Monona officials announced their plan to develop the city’s Yahara River waterfront two weeks ago, they also took note of another shoreline development that will soon take shape right across the street.

Treysta on the Water, a 123-unit apartment complex from The Treysta Group, was approved in 2012 and will finally break ground on May 22.

“There is no downside to anything Monona’s doing in general. It will all benefit us. This was a vastly underused area.” — Robin Pharo, The Treysta Group

The mixed-use complex will transform a vacant, 5-acre stretch of land on the Yahara River that was once the site of the Hickory Lane Mobile Home Park on the south side of West Broadway. The development will include higher-end rental apartments, a yet-to-be-announced restaurant, and commercial space. Like the waterfront development on the other side of Broadway, it will also increase water access for residents, boaters, and the public.

Robin Pharo, president of The Treysta Group, grew up on the east side of Madison. “Monona Drive was my stomping ground … A&W, Rocky Rococo’s,” said the LaFollette High School grad. “My wedding reception was at the Monona Community Center.” Now, she’s about to put her stamp on what could soon be an area destination point when paired with the riverfront development announced for the other side of Broadway.

“There is no downside to anything Monona’s doing in general,” Pharo said. “It will all benefit us. This was a vastly underused area.”

Pet project

And Treysta on the Water will be a vastly different kind of apartment complex, Pharo promises. For a nominal fee, residents of the one- to three-bedroom units will have access to services such as grocery delivery and dog walkers. A ground-floor café in a hotel-like lobby will offer coffee in the mornings and cocktails after work, and nearby, residents will have access to a theater/online gaming room. A rooftop deck with sunset and water views is expected to become a favorite social space, and a penthouse apartment, also on the rooftop level, will be available (for a fee) to visiting family, friends, or even the general public.

Rents for the apartment units are expected to be in the $1,000- to $2,000-per-month range, Pharo said, and underground parking will cost extra, though surface parking will also be available.

The City of Monona, meanwhile, has committed to extending a boardwalk from the River Park business development, adding public boat slips, and improving Lottes Park next door, and boaters will also be able to stop in for a beer or sandwich.

Pharo, who’s been the driver of the development all along, insisted that the public be given access to the project’s community spaces as well, including a community room and four separate event rooms available for meetings, though priority will always be given to residents.



While she looks forward to the groundbreaking, she admits getting to this point wasn’t the easiest ride. “With the size of the project, given land costs and infill development, it was a tough size,” she said. “We’re a fairly new development team, and I didn’t have experience leading [a project like this], so it took longer to raise funds.”

The $18.5 million in TIF, she said, was approved “fairly soon,” but while they tried to work with a local bank for financing, they were forced to reconsider in order to reach the final funding goal. In the end, Dougherty Funding, LLC, a Minneapolis firm, came through. “Once we got through all the underwriting, it was a very fast approval process,” Pharo said. Treysta on the Water was approved in February and marketing began in March. Apartment floor plans will be out in May, assuming there is no holdup with the April 30 closing date, and the first renters should start moving in by February 2015.

Sleek niche

Dimension IV Architects in Madison handled the design work. Jerry Bourquin, architect and principal, said the project was designed with today’s tech-savvy residents in mind. “We created a high-tech niche in every apartment, where everything can be charged,” he said. The project exterior will have a clean, modern design that maximizes views of the water. “There is a lot of usable space, rather than just square footage in the units,” he said, adding that it’s all very green-oriented.

In the basement, a wash station will allow guests to bathe their pets, or even their kayaks. Rutabaga, a supplier of canoes and kayaks that’s located next door to the project, has reportedly offered to assist with boat storage, and offer rentals as well.

Becky Anderson, who owns and manages numerous campus-area properties with her company Laketowne Apartments Management, LLC, created a new venture, Lake Yahara Management, to handle the Treysta property. She was introduced to Pharo early on by Realtor Bert Slinde. “He knew I had a lot of equity, and he put Robin and I together,” said Anderson. “I bought the lot, then that made me a 50% partner.”

She’s still formulating her ideas for staffing and amenities, and she may contract with several companies to provide the unique services. “My vision is that we’d supply a list of people the tenants could interview and feel comfortable with,” she said. After all, she noted, tenants could be inviting strangers into their homes. “We’d supply the avenue.”

An airport shuttle service is one idea she’s hinting at down the road, but nothing, she emphasizes, is etched in stone.

While the i’s still need to be dotted and the t’s crossed, both Pharo and Anderson are anxious for the first shovel of dirt to move. “We’re so thrilled to bring a new concept to Madison, something that’s being done in big cities, but not here,” Pharo said. “I’m hoping we’ll be announcing the restaurant on [May 22] as well,” she added.

Anderson was more direct. “I’m ready to go,” she said. “I want all this done!”

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