A new mixed-use apartment building is being proposed for Madison’s east side. The project’s location is the former site of a controversial Stop-N-Go in the Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara (SASY) neighborhood.
Located on the 2000 block of Winnebago Street, the property has been abandoned since neighborhood pushback forced out the Stop-N-Go in March.
At the heart of that months-long debate were three issues: The decision to remove postal services from the store, the closure of the only neighborhood laundromat — which shared the building with Stop-N-Go — and the denial of Stop-n-Go’s alcohol license — twice.
Those feuds came shortly after Stop-n-Go was acquired by Kwik Trip, which implemented significant changes to the neighborhood store. Those were the same changes that would eventually cause enough community pushback to force the business out.
Brandon Cook is the new owner of the Winnebago Street property. Speaking at a neighborhood meeting yesterday, he said that he tried to entice Kwik Trip back to the SASY neighborhood after the fight.
“And they said, ‘Let us stop you there. We have no interest in coming back. We’re selling it. We’re deed restricting it.’ And those deed restrictions are that it can never be a Kwik Trip or anything that competes with a Kwik Trip over the next fifty years. It’s an interesting property I purchased, in that it can’t be what it was,” Cook told SASY neighbors.
Now, Cook is proposing a three-to-four-story mixed use development for the property. The new project will have 1,100 square feet of commercial space and 24 market-rate apartments.
As to postal services? Cook says he’s aware of the neighborhood’s need for it.
“I think it’s more of a neighborhood demand, and if the post office would like to come back, I’ve got a space for them.”
Like Cook’s predecessor on the property, his new project is facing scrutiny from SASY neighbors. Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, resident and WORT contributor Helena White expressed concern over apartment costs in the new development.
Apartments in the building will range from $900 for a studio to $1,600 for a two-bedroom apartment.
“Well that’s not very affordable, I’m afraid, for working families,” says White. “People here are struggling to be able to afford to stay in this neighborhood. This is not going to help. A one-bedroom for $1,100? That’s a lot of money.”
Cook says that the proposed cost for the new apartments is similar to other properties he owns across Madison.
The new project on Winnebago Street is still in the early planning stages — it hasn’t even been introduced to the city yet as a formal proposal. The project will tentatively be submitted to city staff on September first, with a hearing before Madison’s plan commission set for mid-October.
Barring any major controversies, construction could begin next spring.
Photo by Barbara Smith for WORT News