Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Condos after Dark: Randy Alexanderplatz

After a bit of financial indigestion last year, Randy Alexander's Capitol West in the 300 block of Madison's West Washington Avenue is once again under construction. In many ways it's Madison's most ambitious condo project. Plans call for filling an entire city block with $110-million dollar, mixed-use development which, their website enthuses, is designed to create a sense of neighborhood (no mention of the former neighborhood it replaces).
The Alexander Company is redeveloping the site into an urban community incorporating approximately 375 to 400 townhomes, condominiums, lofts and penthouses, along with neighborhood services, shopping and covered, convenient parking.
Think something is missing from this list of features? Right. There's no hotel!

Having identified this unmet hospitality need in the neighborhood, Alexander recently proposed filling the space for a planned future 13-story condo tower down the block with a more "modest" 11-story, 151-room Hyatt Place Hotel (the new brand name for the AmeriSuites chain that Hyatt bought a couple years ago).
Although Downtown condominium sales have slowed along with the rest of the local real estate market, Joe Alexander, also of the Alexander Co., said the current market wasn't a factor in replacing the condominium tower because completion of that phase wasn't planned for several years.
Hotel plans are popping up like mushrooms all over condo land. First, a boutique hotel was proposed for Hilldale. Now there's Alexander's proposed Hyatt Place Hotel. The proposed hotel would require city review, neighborhood meetings and a zoning change. Will it ever be built? Or is it mainly a developer's dream, presented to keep the momentum going when market conditions make it harder to finance another luxury condo tower?

Maybe it should be called Hotel Hail Mary Pass.

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