Commercial and residential development projects continue at a rapid pace in Madison, and now the growing metro community is going to have a “heart,” said Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler. It will be located in the middle of the city, where Highway 463 and U.S. 51 intersect.
Madison Square will be a town center, built in an old-world, Scandinavian style, according to the mayor. In addition to the new city hall, the center will include a hotel, retail space, restaurants and upscale condominiums, as well as a performing arts center and an area for outdoor festivals.
“We secured the property from the Madison School Board eight years ago,” Hawkins Butler said. “From the very beginning, when I was first elected to public office in 1980, I knew that should be the site for our downtown. But all along, we’ve wanted something unique and different. After a few fires over the years, there’s not much left of historic significance here, but we work hard to maintain what we’ve got. This new center will make us a destination point. It will give us our heartbeat.”
City, company fit
Kerioth Corporation, developer of The Township at Colony Park and other project throughout the area, has been selected to develop the project.
“This is one of the best examples of public-private partnerships I’ve seen anywhere,” said Clint Herring, founder and CEO of Kerioth. “Mayor Hawkins Butler has already set the stage with high standards for the city. It certainly matches what we do as a company.”
Hawkins Butler said there were many developers across the country who were interested in the project, but ultimately, Kerioth won the job.
“Clint Herring’s integrity was a critical factor in choosing Kerioth,” she said. “We know we can trust him, and trust is so important with a development of this scale.”
Project will take time
Herring warns that projects like this take time. “There’s a real excitement and momentum going right now. But there are several months to come where there will be lots of behind-the-scenes work going on, and it will appear that nothing’s happening.
According to Herring, the project must go into planning, engineering and to the architects. “It could be a year or more before ground is broken for the project. This project will unfold precept upon precept, just as a town unfolds and develops.”
Retailers in the area were encouraged by the news of the Madison Square project.
Eric Norris, owner of The Image Gallery on U.S. 51, said he thinks the project will be a great one for the city. “It can’t wait until it happens. This will be so good for Madison. And for people like me who own a business and a home in Madison, it will be a good thing because it will only help our property values as well as boost city revenue.”
Sherri Hilton, owner of Persnickety, said, “Obviously, I’m excited. It’s just fantastic. This is what the mayor has been working towards for so long now. It’s the vision she’s had ever since she’s been mayor, and I think it’s a dream come true for her and for everyone in Madison. It can’t happen fast enough. I know that if the mayor approved it, it will be first class. Madison is truly becoming an extraordinary place to live and work.”
On the heels of being selected as one of the 10 best towns for families by Family Circle magazine, the announcement of the Madison Square project is indicative of what’s to come. “The best part of that recognition is that we didn’t apply for it, and we didn’t even know it was something they were doing. Out of the thousands of towns and cities in the country, the people at the magazine discovered what we’ve known all along,” the mayor said.
Herring said that the Madison Square project is ideal for Kerioth, as the company is about creating special places. “This is an opportunity for us to create an environment, and to make a positive impact on the community with the type of buildings that we build. Our role now is to be a good servant to the vision of Madison.”