Seven Story Building Proposed at Former Captain Bill’s Location

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Cameron Bren

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission reviewed a concept proposal calling for redeveloping the site of Captain Bill’s seafood restaurant into a seven story, residential building with 107 units parallel to Lake Street. The Plan Commission provided feedback to the developer but did not take any action on the concept proposal. 

Captain Bill’s closed in June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has remained vacant. Director of Planning and Community Development Abby Attoun said the site is one of the city’s first uses of a planned development district (PDD), a zoning ordinance that is written specific to a particular site and use.

Attoun said the PDD is written specifically for a 4,000 square foot restaurant with about 100 seats. A rezoning would be necessary for any proposal that does not have those same attributes, Attoun said. 

Attoun noted the developer held a neighborhood meeting attended by about 50 people, many who were nearby residents. Concerns were raised related to the size of the proposal and how it could affect traffic, parking, emergency access, shadows, privacy, views, noise to nearby properties, soil suitability and contamination and stormwater management.

Tim Carey, who is the principal of Middleton based real estate development and investment company T5 Real Estate reviewed his company’s portfolio which includes about two million square feet, 1,100 apartment units and MarketWest apartments in Greenway Station.

Carey said he views the concept proposal as adhering to the city’s adopted comprehensive plan by creating high density residential development along Century Avenue and Allen Boulevard. 

Carey noted his impression about the neighborhood meeting Attoun described was that it was only informational and meant specifically for the residents of Century Harbor Condominiums. He said he plans to hold an official neighborhood meeting for all residents and to gather input.

The architect for the proposal, Duane Johnson from Knothe & Bruce Architects, said the site is a great location for infill development that can address the city’s housing needs. 

The plan calls for removal of the existing building and construction of 107 unit and 141 parking stalls. The larger mass of building would be along lake street to buffer from condos. 

On the north side of the site there would be an enclosed single story parking area accessed from Century Harbor Road. Another 81 stalls would be underneath the building accessed from Lake Street

Johnson shared some rendered images showing various views of the building from different angles. He said he did a preliminary shadow study indicating shadows from the building wouldn’t be cast beyond the property line.

Mayor Gurdip Brar said he visited the site and also has some concerns. 

“Traffic would be a huge issue here,” Brar said. Because of the shared road with the condos and the boat launch.

Brar said he was also concerned there is not enough green space for the number of residents that would live there. 

He said he would like to see a play area for kids and a possible way for kids to get library access. 

Carey said they will complete a traffic study. He stated that the project will add green space and he can consider adding a playground and library.

Plan Commission member Kurt Paulsen asked about traffic and circulation and what access there is to the site.

Carey said there is a shared private road between the restaurant, office building and the condominiums.

Paulsen was unsure the public works department would approve an access point for an apartment building on a private road.

Paulsen said turning left onto Allen Boulevard is challenging during any time of the day so it will be important to find out the results of the traffic impact analysis.

He is also concerned about the height given the surrounding buildings. He asked how lowering it to four stories would affect the viability of the project.

Carey said the decreased density would change the financing considerably.

Plan Commission member Mike Slavish asked if Carey had any comments about the boat launch at the end of Lake Street. Carey said it is not ideal during peak hours during boating season. 

Alder Dan Ramsey said the Lake Street boat launch is the only access within the City of Middleton and it is important that it remains open. Carey said the launch is probably limited mostly by the amount of street parking available on Lake Street.

Plan Commission member Jen Murray said she liked the concept of high density housing in the area but acknowledged that seven stories seemed overpowering. She suggested the developer consider a softer design with setbacks.

Paulsen pointed out a smaller size building would have cost savings and less weight by avoiding a steel frame and the need for deep pilings.

Carey said without underground parking there would have to be surface stalls or a parking garage next to the building which would be less desirable for tenants.

Carey thanked the plan commission for the feedback.

“Our objective is to do just this, to understand people’s opinions, people’s feelings, people’s objectives, and try to come up with a plan that accomplishes both objectives and works economically,” he said.

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