City Council Approve $3.2 million TIF for Trotta Building, Resolution for Rapid Transit

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Cameron Bren

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Common Council approved a TIF agreement with developer Impact Seven to assist with extraordinary construction costs and subsidizing workforce housing units in a four story apartment building at 3001 Parmenter St. titled Trotta.

The Trotta building will include 124 one, two and three-bedroom units, 163 parking stalls with 98 of those underground. The finished project is anticipated to generate $15,604,400 in property value.

The $3,236,922 developer-financed TIF agreement covers $429,800 in extraordinary costs for demolition, soil stabilization and infrastructure, $318,922 in interest costs and $2,488,200 for rental opportunity cost measured as the capitalized value of the difference between workforce housing rents to be charged and market rents.

The workforce housing component of the agreement requires the developer to reserve at least 50 units for households earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income for a 15 year period beginning September 1, 2021. Of those 50 units, no fewer than 25 units shall be one bedroom, no fewer than 20 units shall be two bedroom units, and no fewer than five units shall be three bedroom units. 

The developer proposed allowing students who are working 30 hours or more to live in the workforce housing units, though that was flagged by city attorney Larry Bechler for violating the city workforce housing policy. The language in the city’s policy reflects the state’s policy regarding affordable housing for students.

District 6 alder Susan West said that seemed to be discriminatory towards students, but Bechler said it cannot be discriminatory because students are not protected class of people under the law. 

District 8 alder Mark Sullivan said he agreed with West’s sentiments but a referral to the workforce housing committee would need to be made to change the policy. 

Impact Seven representative Michael Carlson said he did not want to open a can of worms that could adversely affect the timeline of the project. He said he was fine retracting that section from the agreement in order to move forward. 

Director of Planning and Community Development Abby Attoun said the council could approve the agreement without the student housing section and later draft an amendment to the TIF agreement if the workforce housing committee recommends changing the policy. 

The motion to approve the TIF agreement passed six to two with Sullivan and West voting opposed.  

A resolution supporting the City of Madison’s planned bus rapid transit (BRT) system sparked debate about the City Of Middleton’s future involvement and shared cost of the project. The resolution is intended to demonstrate Middleton’s commitment to partner with Madison Metro to bolster legitimacy of the project while applying for capital grants.

Sullivan asked Planning and Zoning Administrator Mark Optiz what share of the overhead Middleton will be assessed. Optiz said Madison has made no indication what the cost would be, if any. Optiz noted the BRT route would not directly serve Middleton but would indirectly by connecting to existing bus routes. 

Sullivan said conceptually the plan sounds great but the reality is Middleton is currently struggling to fund diesel-electric busses. He said Middleton city officials should know what contribution they will be expected to make to BRT before moving forward. 

Opitz said the resolution was meant to indicate that Middleton is a team player and in support of improved public transit. He noted for decades the Middleton officials have supported plans for commuter rail and BRT is the closest alternative. 

Mayor Gurdip Brar said Middleton should not pay anything for BRT if the routes don’t directly serve Middleton. 

Sullivan asked if there is any type of regional transit governing body that reviews the project. Opitz said a regional transit authority was getting established in 2008, but scrapped following  changes to state law under the former Governor Scott Walker.

District 2 alder Robert Burke pointed out the action before council could reduce costs. He added that Middleton supporting the project at the outset is exclusive to a continued partnership with Metro based on the cost of service. 

The motion to approve the resolution passed seven to one with Sullivan opposed.

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