Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 8:03am

The City of Madison has been working diligently to ensure a full service grocery store is present in South Madison now and into the future. This work originated in efforts to redevelop the Truman Olson site located at 1402 South Park Street, a process that has been ongoing for several years. Through a competitive request for proposals process, the City selected Rule Enterprises and Movin’ Out, Inc in 2019 to redevelop the Truman Olson site.

Rule Enterprises and Movin’ Out, Inc are proposing to construct 150 units of affordable apartments, a parking structure, and a 24,000 SF grocery condo space. The project is funded in part by a combination of State of Wisconsin WHEDA tax credits and City of Madison Affordable Housing Funds. After Rule Enterprises and Movin’ Out, Inc (the “Development Team”) were selected by the City to redevelop the Truman Olson site, the Development Team elected to partner with Luna’s Groceries, LLC, a Madison grocery start-up.

During the development process, the City of Madison agreed to step in and purchase the grocery condo for $4.6 million. This purchase allows the Development Team to close on their financing and commence construction on schedule.

As discussions have continued between the City, the Development Team, and Luna’s Groceries, there is now agreement among the parties that this site is not a good fit for Luna’s Groceries. Accordingly, Luna’s will be stepping away from this development to pursue other opportunities, while the City identifies a new grocery operator to take over the space.

“Luna's has built a sustainable model for addressing food access in the Allied neighborhood, one of the City's largest food deserts,” said Mariam Maldonado, owner of Luna’s Groceries. “When I was chosen to work with the City and the Movin’ Out team on the Truman Olson project I was excited by the opportunity to expand our model of the neighborhood store that takes care of its community to the South Park Street area. However, in developing plans for the store, it has become increasingly clear to me that it will be challenging to accomplish Luna's vision on this scale and in this timeframe. This has been a difficult decision for me, and I have appreciated the City's trust in me and Luna's mission.”

The City thanks Mariam Maldonado and the Luna’s Groceries Team, and is committed to assisting them in future endeavors as they continue to build and expand their presence throughout the Madison community as part of their mission to eliminate food disparities in the City.

”I’m grateful that everyone involved with this project is prioritizing the needs of the South Madison community,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, “I’m confident that we will secure a grocery partner for this site, and I’m confident that Luna’s will continue to serve our community well for many years to come.”

“Our goal from the beginning has been to avoid a gap in grocery services on the south side and to make sure the grocery store not only gets built but succeeds in the long run”, said District 13 Alder Tag Evers. “We’re still confident that we can meet our goals on this project and wish Mariam and Luna’s success in their future efforts.”

Alder Sheri Carter stated “Since the 1950’s there has always been full-service grocery store in South Madison. I am committed to ensuring that tradition carries on for many more years.”

The City will be reaching out to grocers who have previously expressed interest in this project to secure a grocery store operator for the Truman Olson site.