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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. RFP responses were received from both teams on September 30, 2013.

The Judge Doyle Square Committee completed its analysis of the two RFP responses on February 3, 2014, and found that JDS Development LLC offered the best combination of project features, feasibility and development attributes which would strike the most advantageous balance for achieving the City’s Judge Doyle Square goals and the potential best overall value. Having held 18 meetings since the Committee members were appointed by the Common Council in October 2012, it concluded its work and recommended that the Common Council provide negotiating instructions for the Mayor and the City Negotiating Team for a final development agreement. On February 25, 2014, the Common Council concurred and directed that the City enter into negotiations with JDS Development LLC to undertake a mixed use development called Judge Doyle Square and to report back by to the Common Council by August 15, 2014.

The Mayor appointed the City Negotiating Team on March 10, 2014. A total of twelve negotiating sessions were held through August 15, 2014 with the Negotiating Team reporting back to the Board of Estimates on six occasions during that period. On August 22, 2014, the City Negotiating Team issued its Report to the Common Council requesting that the negotiation period be extended through October 15, 2014 to allow the City Negotiating Team and JDS Development LLC to frame alternatives to significantly lower the level of City investment for further consideration and direction. On September 2, 2014, the Common Council extended the negotiation period with JDS Development LLC, directing the City Negotiating Team to work to significantly reduce the level of city financial participation for the project and to report back to the Common Council by November 1, 2014.

Five additional negotiating sessions were held and the City Negotiating Team provided updates to the Board of Estimates on two additional occasions. On November 3, 2014, the City Negotiating Team issued its report to the Common Council recommending that negotiations continue with JDS Development LLC based on the developments concepts presented in its report with a final development term sheet to be completed for Common Council consideration by May 1, 2015.

On December 2, 2014, the Common Council considered the Report of the City Negotiating Team and directed that negotiations with JDS Development LLC be terminated and a new Request for Proposals document be drafted for the Judge Doyle Square project to come back to the Council for consideration. At the January 6, 2015 Common Council meeting, a resolution was introduced for referral to the Board of Estimates to authorize the issuance of a new RFP for Judge Doyle Square.

Four RFP responses were received on May 1, 2015 from Beitler Real Estate Services Joint Venture of Chicago, IL; Doyle Square Development, LLC, a joint venture of Urban Land Interests of Madison, WI, and the North Central Group of Middleton, WI; JDS Development, LLC, a joint venture of the Hammes Company of Madison, WI and Majestic Realty of Los Angeles CA; and Vermillion Enterprises, LLC of Chicago, IL.

The JDS Development LLC response proposed to locate the Exact Sciences corporate headquarters and research facility at Judge Doyle Square in a 250,000 square foot facility as a component of the project. On May 19, 2015, the Common Council directed that the City proceed to enter into an exclusive negotiation period with JDS Development LLC and Exact Sciences prior to negotiating with the other three proposers. Following the Common Council’s action, the City Negotiating Team entered into negotiations with JDS Development LLC and Exact Sciences. On July 7, 2015, the Common Council approved a preliminary development agreement (which was executed on July 15, 2015), and directed the City Negotiating Team to continue negotiations on a final development agreement and to report back by August 25, 2015. On September 29/30, 2015, the Common Council considered an Amended and Restated Development Agreement and approved the agreement, directing the City Negotiating Team to work toward an anticipated real estate closing in December of 2015.

On November 2, 2015, Exact Sciences announced that it had decided to focus its future facility planning on its existing facilities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Park and to end its plans for a downtown location. Following this announcement, on November 17, 2015, the Common Council adopted a resolution authorizing the next steps in the Judge Doyle Square development process. Consistent with its earlier direction on May 19, 2015, the Common Council directed that the City consider the three other teams that submitted development proposals on May 1, 2015, now that the exclusive negotiations with JDS Development LLC and Exact Sciences had concluded. The development teams were given until January 19, 2016 to make any desired revisions to their respective proposals and to address the City’s required elements, and to submit those changes to the City.

On January 19, 2016, the City received two updated responses to its Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop Judge Doyle Square from Beitler Real Estate Services Joint Venture of Chicago, IL and Vermilion Enterprises, LLC of Chicago, IL. The City's Board of Estimates conducted Interviews with each development team on March 9, 2016. On April 19, 2016, the Common Council received the Judge Doyle Square Negotiating Team's Report and the recommendations of the City's Board of Estimates, and adopted Resolution RES-16-00317 selecting Beitler Real Estate Services, LLC as the Judge Doyle Square Development Team with which to commence negotiations on proposal version B. The Common Council directed the Judge Doyle Square Negotiating Team to immediately initiate negotiations with the selected development team and to report back to the Board of Estimates by June 27, 2016 with a final term sheet.

The City Negotiating Team concluded negotiations with Beitler Real Estate Services and presented a proposed development agreement to the Board of Estimates on June 27, 2016 The Common Council adopted Resolution RES-16-00510 on July 5, 2016, accepting the recommendation of the Board of Estimates, authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to Execute the Development Agreement with Beitler Real Estate Services LLC for the Judge Doyle Square Project, and directing follow-up actions by the City as described and agreed to in the Development Agreement.

In September 2016, the City executed a contract for the design and engineering of the Block 88 public parking garage. Construction drawings were completed in June 2017 and the City put the public garage component out for bid in June 2017. Bids are due on August 4, 2017. In January 2017, the land use approval process for the public and private developments on Blocks 88 and 105 commenced. On May 2, 2017, the Common Council unanimously approved the Planned Development (PD) rezoning applications for the two blocks, and the Urban Design Commission granted Final Approval on July 12, 2017. Construction on the public garage component on Block 88 commenced in October 2017.

In April 2018, Beitler Real Estate Services informed the City that it wouldn’t be able to construct the private element of the Block 88 portion of the project above the underground municipal garage. Following analysis by City staff and committees, the Common Council adopted Resolution RES -18-00403 on May 15, 2018 to add the Podium element (148-stalls of above grade parking and 8,000 square feet of retail space) to the public construction.

Following the completion of construction drawings for the Podium, the Common Council on November 20, 2018, authorized a change order to the garage construction contract to include the Podium structural components and authorized that public works bids be advertised for the Podium enclosure and finishes. The construction contract was executed in March 2019 and completion of the Podium is targeted for October 2019.

Following the City’s May 2018 action, Beitler Real Estate Services subsequently sued the City of Madison in June 2018 alleging a contract violation by the City under the Development Agreement. Following discovery by the parties in the legal action, Beitler Real Estate Services voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit on August 23, 2018. Negotiations between the City and the developer continued and on January 8, 2019, the Common Council adopted Resolution RES-19-00038 to settle the dispute. In the First Amendment to the Development Agreement between the parties, Beitler Real Estate Services relinquished its development right to the podium and air-rights on Block 88.

On February 26, 2019, following recommendations from five city committees, the Common Council adopted Resolution RES-190-00161 to issue a Request for Proposals seeking a developer to complete the remaining private portion of the Block 88 project; the air-rights above the Podium. Proposals are due on April 15, 2019.

The City received three responses to its RFP from the following development teams: Gebhardt Development of Madison, WI; Mandel Group of Milwaukee, WI; and Stone House Development of Madison, WI. On June 11, 2019, the Common Council adopted RES-19-00432 to select Gebhardt Development to move forward with into negotiation. Following eleven weeks of negotiation, the Finance Committee determined that the progress of the negotiation was insufficient and on September 3, 2019, the Common Council adopted RES-19-00593 to terminate negotiations with Gebhardt Development and to commence negotiations with Stone House Development. Following five negotiating sessions with Stone House Development and after receiving a recommendation from the Finance Committee, the Common Council adopted RES-19-00818 to approve a development agreement with Stone House for the purchase of the Podium and the development of the Block 88 air-rights for a 161-unit apartment building.

Subsequently, Stone House Development requested an amendment to the approved planned development zoning for the apartment tower. The Common Council approved the zoning amendment on March 3, 2020 following recommendations form the Landmarks Commission, Urban Design Commission and the Plan Commission. The Purchase and Sale Agreement was executed in March 2020, and the real estate closing for the Block 88 Podium and air-rights was held on July 10, 2020. The apartment tower is under construction and is scheduled to be completed in August 2021.

Construction of the Block 88 underground garage, named the Wilson Street Garage, and the City-owned Madison Bicycle Center at the corner of Pinckney and Doty Streets was completed in June 2020. The Certificate of Occupancy was issued by the City on June 17, 2020. The issuance date of the Certificate of Occupancy set the dates by which Beitler Real Estate Services must start construction on the last two private elements of the Judge Doyle project. Construction on the hotel on Lot 1 on Block 105 must commence on or before December 17, 2021. Construction on the final element, the apartment project on Lot 2 on Block 105, must commence on or before December 17, 2022.

Following the grand opening of the Wilson Street Garage on June 22, 2020, the City began the demolition of the Government East Ramp on Block 105 in July 2020. The demolition was completed in February 2021. With the completion of the demolition, the three public elements of the Judge Doyle project - the Wilson Street Garage, the Madison Bicycle Center and the demolition of the Government East Ramp - were complete.

The project schedule going forward can be found in the Timeline section of this website.