Cottage Grove Road Activity Centers Plan


The City is undertaking a targeted planning effort to analyze opportunities for creating exciting and viable neighborhood activity nodes along Cottage Grove Road.  It will address land use, urban design, and connectivity to the abutting residential neighborhoods. City Staff will be managing and performing most of the work associated with this plan, but have hired Place Dynamics, as a market analysis consultant to aid City staff in helping to set expectations for realistic development potential for the corridor. The market study will also help identify potential barriers to redevelopment of the area with the recommended land uses, so that these barriers may be addressed by the plan.

Cottage Grove Road Activity Centers Plan Update - 4-25-17

Market Study Analysis:
Draft Market Analysis Report expected in early May

Preliminary Market Analysis Findings indicate that the corridor shows a great potential for new housing units at both Activity Centers. A continuing demand for housing includes the potential for a range of residential development, from smaller scale townhouses to senior housing and other multi-family development types. Some very limited retail could accompany some of this development.

  • Atwood Center: This center has the most potential for new retail, restaurant, office and service uses. As development from Schenk-Atwood begins to fill in, business will be looking for the next area for redevelopment opportunities along the Willy-Atwood-Monona corridor.
  • Acewood Center: This area is a much tougher sell for new retail. There is greater competition to the east, and the site lacks anchors. There may be an opportunity for some limited entrepreneurial or co-working space opportunities, but housing may be the best option for redevelopment.

Public Meeting Summary:
Meeting #1: January 2017

Approximately 55 neighbors came to Olbrich Gardens to discuss their ideas, desires and concerns about the future of the Atwood/Acewood Activity Centers. Feedback was fairly unanimous in the desire to support existing local businesses, encourage potential redevelopment, and support/increase pedestrian, bike and recreational and social opportunities for people of all ages. Concerns included increased traffic, business turnover, vacant storefronts, and declining nature of the two activity centers.  

Meeting #2: March 2017
Approximately 15 neighbors came to Messiah Lutheran Church to hear a presentation on preliminary Market Study Findings, as well as partake in a visual preference survey of new development types, and give feedback on conceptual redevelopment ideas for both the Atwood and Acewood Activity Centers. There was general dismay and disappointment about the lack of retail opportunities as described by market findings, but a general consensus in favor of fairly dense housing redevelopment. Concerns were also expressed regarding the potential negative impacts of construction on the existing businesses and that consideration should be given to phasing large-scale (re)development to mitigate the adverse impacts of construction.

Electronic Survey:
Since there were so few attendees to the March meeting, Planning Staff put together an impromptu electronic survey about different redevelopment ideas. As of 4/22/17 there have been 130 response to the survey, and several neighborhood associations requested that the  survey be left open to provide more opportunity for input. A quick preview of some of the results show the importance of meeting attendance, where there was ample discussion to explain that the conceptual (re)development schemes that were being presented were not actual development proposals, but instead were conceptual ideas that were meant to draw feedback regarding the preferences of the neighborhood with regard to (re)development types and intensity. In general, survey respondents were more wary of redevelopment than those who attended the meeting in-person. That being said, most respondents do want to see redevelopment in some form, although building massing, location and design had mixed results.

Next Steps:

  • Draft Market Analysis Report expected first week of May.
  • Staff will compile comments, survey data and develop draft recommendations for two activity centers.  
  • Public Meeting to get feedback on draft recommendations to be scheduled for mid-June.

Study Area

The project will focus on two identified mixed use nodes along Cottage Grove Road from Atwood Avenue to Interstate 39/90.  These focus areas will extend approximately one block north and south of Cottage Grove Road.  However, the larger context will need to be considered.


CGR Activity Nodes Study Area

Background Information


Project Brochure
CG Brochure

Click on image for full size brochure
Please take the Business Survey

Project Schedule

Phase 1: Baseline Data Gathering (November 2016-February 2017)
Public Kick-Off Meeting #1 – Analysis and "Visioning"         
January 31, 2017
Market Analysis Preliminary Report
Results from Kick-off Meeting

Phase 2: Alternative Concept Plans Development (February – March 2017)
Public Meeting #2 - Alternative Concept Plans Discussion (Late March 2017)
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Draft Land Use and Redevelopment Concepts

Staff Presentation to Eastmorland Community Association (May 2017)

Phase 3:  Draft Plan Development (April-May 2017)
Public Meeting #3 – Presentation of Preferred Alternatives and Draft Recommendations (May 2017)

Phase 4: Finalize and Adopt Plan (June-September 2017)

Last Updated: 05/11/2017