Catching up: Union Corners project slowly moving forward

December 23, 2013 7:30 am  •  DEAN  MOSIMAN | Wisconsin State Journal

If anything defines the much-anticipated redevelopment at Union Corners on  Madison’s East Side, it’s patience. And patience may soon be paying off.

Developer Gorman & Co. signed a purchase and sale agreement with the city  for the site this fall and is close to submitting land use plans for the  long-vacant, city-owned 11.4-acre site at the corner of East Washington Avenue  and Milwaukee Street.

If all approvals and financing are secured, construction on the multiphase  project could begin late next summer, owner Gary Gorman said.

“It’s moving forward. It’s never as fast as we would like,” he said.

“They’re doing a lot of work. There’s just not a lot of this you can see  yet,” City Real Estate Manager  Don Marx said.

In mid-July, after six months of talks, the City Council authorized staff to  negotiate a purchase and sale agreement for an estimated $83.9 million  redevelopment there. The city has already invested about $6 million to buy land,  make public improvements and cover other costs.

On Oct. 30, the sides completed that agreement, under which the city would  sell the site to Gorman for $1, and the developer would apply for $6 million in  tax incremental financing (TIF) support. That would be repaid through new  property taxes generated by the project, which would likely be done in four  phases.

The first phase includes a 60,000-square-foot UW Health clinic with parking,  and the remaining phases are a mix of housing, office, retail space and possibly  a public library branch.

Gorman said he’s about 75 percent done working out the clinic design with UW  Health, has submitted a TIF application with the city, is in discussions with  other potential tenants and will soon submit a general development plan  application, which will trigger a land use review process.

“It’s still a go as far as we’re concerned,” Marx said.