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Judge Doyle Square

Historical Image of the Madison Municipal Building

Judge Doyle Square is a two-block area in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. It is the site of the Madison Municipal Building (MMB) (Block 88), Government East (GE) parking garage (Block 105) and has been identified by the city as a location with significant redevelopment potential.

This two-block area within the city has a rich and long history. In 1909 John Nolen created the Lake Monona Approach, a plan to tie the new Wisconsin State Capitol to Lake Monona by way of a Capital Mall lined by significant buildings. Later, in 1929 the Federal government built the United States Courthouse and Post Office on the east side of the mall between Doty Street and Wilson Street as the first of a series of civic buildings.

Judge James E. Doyle was a United States federal judge in the District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin, as well as a leader in the Democratic Party. Judge Doyle was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson April 29, 1965 and was confirmed by the United State senate on May 21, 1965. He served as chief judge from 1978-1980 and presided for much of his career in a courtroom on the second floor in the United States Courthouse.

In 1979, under Mayor Paul Soglin, the City of Madison purchased the Federal courthouse building and Federal functions were relocated elsewhere. Renamed the Madison Municipal Building (MMB) by the City, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 27, 2002. The building was also designated a City of Madison landmark by the Madison Landmarks Commission and Common Council. To this day, the building houses municipal offices. Judge Doyle's courtroom is now known as Room 260 and much of the history of the room remains.

The 520 space Government East parking garage was constructed in 1958, and is located on Block 105 (east of Pinckney Street, between Doty Street and Wilson Street). It has served a variety of parking functions over the years, but currently offers about 80% of its spaces to the public on an hourly basis while about 20% of the spaces are reserved for monthly pass holders. The GE garage is approaching the end of its useful life and it has become financially challenging for the City to continue to invest in its ongoing maintenance.

The Judge Doyle Square (JDS) site is bounded by Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard on the west, Doty Street on the north, Wilson Street on the south and on the east by a group of buildings that front mainly on King Street. (See map below) Pinckney Street runs through the site and defines Block 88 from Block 105. The eastern portion of Block 88, which is currently a surface parking lot for the MMB and the GE garage on Block 105 are currently identified in the Madison Downtown Plan (2012) as potential redevelopment and infill sites.

In 2010, the City recognized the development opportunity of this area and initiated a master planning project to form a bold vision for the South-East area of the Central Business District. Future planning for this area will place an emphasis on transit-oriented development (TOD), which will include enhancements to pedestrian, bicycle, local and intercity bus, and potential intercity passenger rail transportation. The redevelopment will include parking on both blocks and public improvements to create a lively, welcoming streetscape and urban environment as well as to better connect Judge Doyle Square to the Capitol Square, the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center and John Nolen Drive.

In 2011 and early 2012, a planning team led by Kimley Horn and Associates developed a master plan for Block 105, and the City separately studied with Marcus Hotels and Resorts and Urban Land Interests options to develop additional hotel rooms on Block 88 to support the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. In July 2012, the Madison Common Council received the work products from those two planning initiatives along with staff recommendations, and directed that this Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals process be initiated. The Council also directed that a hotel feasibility study be prepared to accompany the RFQ. These studies and reports can be found in the Gallery section.

The priority of this project was reinforced in July of 2012, when the Madison Common Council adopted a new Downtown Plan. This plan provides a vision for the next 20 years along with a comprehensive set of recommendations on how to achieve that vision, including one that reads: "Pursue the development of Judge Doyle Square to incorporate public parking, active ground floor retail uses and streetscapes, a significant amount of private development and a bicycle center, among other components, while respecting the historic characteristics of the Madison Municipal Building and surrounding historic properties."

A Committee has been appointed to oversee the solicitation of qualifications and proposals and the selection of the private development partner for Judge Doyle Square. The selection process will be in two phases: (1) Request for Qualifications (RFQ), from which it is anticipated that a short list of qualified teams will be selected; and (2) Request for Proposals (RFP), for the project design, construction, financing, ownership and management.

On February 5, 2013, the Madison Common Council authorized the issuance of the Judge Doyle Square RFQ. On April 30, 2013, four responses to the RFQ were received by the City of Madison. The Judge Doyle Square Committee conducted an initial review of the submittals, held public interviews, performed reference checks and recommended that JDS Development LLC of Madison, WI and the Journeyman Group of Austin, TX be invited to participate in the second stage, RFP process. On July 16, 2013, the Madison Common Council concurred in the Committee's recommendations and authorized the issuance of the Judge Doyle Square RFP.