Wonder Bar to keep in a new development proposal | Local News


Following the rejection of its previous proposal, McGrath Property Group plans to submit a new plan incorporating the historic Wonder Bar into its development.


The Wonder Bar will likely be included in a revised development proposal after objections to the Prohibition-era steakhouse demolition stalled the initial $ 40 million housing project.

The current plan would move the bar closer to Olin Avenue, city preservation planner Heather Bailey said in an email to the Wisconsin State Journal.

McGrath Property Group had hoped to raze the Coliseum Bar & Banquet, 232 E. Olin Ave., and the historic Wonder Bar steakhouse, 222 E. Olin Ave., to make way for an 18-story, $ 40 million structure, which would offer 291 apartments, 16,000 square feet of commercial space and five floors of parking.

When the development was released to the public in April, the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation began considering submitting a historic nomination for the Wonder Bar. The trust had previously submitted a landmark nomination for the Wonder Bar in 2008, but withdrew it at the owner’s request in 2009. Eventually, the trust submitted another nomination in mid-July, but the city ruled on it. insufficient for technical reasons.

On July 26, Madison residents Alex Saloutos, Henry Doane, Jackie Suska and Joe Lusson, former chairman of the trust, submitted their own nominations. The nomination was handed over to the city the same day the Planning Commission was set to consider McGrath’s proposal. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to block the project, with members in favor of the additional housing but opposing the demolition of the Wonder Bar. The commission rejected McGrath’s request so that the developer could come back with a revised proposal soon.

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