Boom The End of an Era on Madison
posted by June 5 at 16:22 PMon
Andrew Taylor has detested the nefarious activity along a sordid length of East Madison Street through the Central District—a few blocks from his home of 25 years—until recently. “The greatest impact was the day that Chocolate City closed,” he says. In February 2007, the bar, formerly named Deano’s, shut its doors and the loiterers scattered. “With respect to street drug dealing and prostitution, the neighborhood has been remarkably quiet,” he says. Last Friday, a chain-link fence appeared around the bar and about two-thirds of the block.
A tax affidavit filed with the state last Thursday shows the land’s owner, Dean Falls, sold the parcel to a development company for $7.5 million. The buyer, Jim Mueller, says he plans to construct a six-story building that contains retail on the street level and around 200 apartments above.
Model and graphic by Slater Partners. Photo by Andrew Taylor.
Demolishing several vacant buildings and acquiring a permit to build a massive development would ordinarily take several years, but this location is different. Falls had already received a master use permit to develop the site (which has been transfered to Mueller), so Mueller says that his company, JC Mueller, LLC, need only create detailed drawings and apply for a construction permit before breaking ground. “That could take 9-12 months,” he says.
But will the crackheads return when the buildings go up and the fences come down?
Mueller thinks not. “We own the site across the street—The Twilight Exit.” On that property, Mueller says he’s planning a similar project that will begin construction in the same timeframe. “The fact that we own the two pieces of property across from each other allows us to really change the feel of the location,” he says.
Taylor concurs: “I suspect that the owner of the building will be careful… and will choose businesses that fit in with his idea how the neighborhood should be,” he says. In lieu of their old haunts, he says, “More gang-related groups are outside Thomson’s [Point of View], but a lot of the older Deano’s crowd moved downtown.”
Dean Falls did not return calls before this story was posted.