The second phase of the $78 million development known as Union Corners unfolded Wednesday with the grand opening of a $19 million, 90-unit mixed-income apartment complex.
Interview by Eden Checkol, WISC-TV News 3
Named after the battery company that formerly occupied the site, Carbon at Union Corners includes two four-story buildings joined by a courtyard and path that leads to East Washington Avenue. There is 18,000-square-feet of ground floor retail space and 92 underground parking spaces at the complex on Winnebago Street.
Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, said the development is a strong example of creating a neighborhood and not just “plopping in some buildings” into a vacant space.
“There is now a community that will evolve here and be part of a bigger neighborhood, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Rummel said.
Of the 90 units, 76 are affordable and targeted to families making between 30 and 60 percent of Dane County’s median income, or $85,200 for a household of four. Only 10 units are still available, Gorman’s Wisconsin Market President Ted Matkom said.
The project used $8.5 million of Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority low income tax credits and the city contributed the land within a Tax Incremental Financing district in addition to $1 million of gap financing. Dane County put forward $554,000 of gap financing.
Madison’s Department of Planning, Community & Economic Development director Natalie Erdman said the city’s vision for the site was to see a complete neighborhood with access to transportation, child care and housing.
Central to that vision was affordable housing and creating a place that would draw a diverse group of people together, Erdman said.
“Carbon is really a good example of that mixed income with some quality commercial space that create those vital experiences for people living here, and a way for us to relate to one another in a good quality of housing,” Erdman said.
In 2014, the city set aside $4.5 million per year to create an estimated 250 units of affordable housing per year. Gorman & Co, the developer of Union Corners, was included in the first round of funding, Erdman said.
“This is the beginning of the fruits of those labors and that commitment,” Erdman said.
The first phase of the Union Corners development was the $20 million, two-story UW Health Clinic on the corner of East Washington Avenue and Sixth Street that opened at the end of last year.
Following Carbon, the developer is proposing to build a 59-unit apartment complex in partnership with Lutheran Social Services. The complex would be geared toward extended families, such as grandparents, who are raising other family members’ children.
A five-story, mixed-use apartment complex called Nexus is the fourth phase of the project. The final development in the Union Corners plan will have about 100 apartments, 18,000-square-feet of retail and over 200 enclosed parking spaces.
Gorman & Co CEO Gary Gorman said the goal of the Union Corners site is to create a place where people can live, work and recreate within walking distance.
“We’ve created an urban village here,” Gorman said. “It’s not done, but it will be and I’m very proud of it.”