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Oliv Madison, a 10-story development that would bring student housing to the State Street neighborhood, is appearing before the Urban Design Commission on Wednesday to seek final design approval.

The Oliv, which is proposed by Core Spaces, would include a mix of affordable student housing as well as retail space and a business incubator run by Florida-based Collective And Co.

The Urban Design Commission is the proposal’s first hurdle toward obtaining city approval. UDC reviews the design of buildings, their integration with the surrounding neighborhood, approves the types of materials used and provides development teams with key architectural information. Typically, a development first presents to the UDC and then seeks approval from the Planning Commission, which essentially oversees the granting of planning permission to a certain location.

Ahead of Wednesday’s UDC meeting, Core Spaces released renderings of Oliv Madison with details on how the building fits into the surrounding area. In one rendering, it shows the view as if a person were driving down West Gorham Street towards campus, with the now-defunct Hopcat on the right and Oliv Madison across State Street in the building that housed the most recently the Casa De Lara, among others.

“After incorporating feedback through a collaborative process with the city and neighborhood, we are very pleased with the proposed design of the building,” said Rob Bak, development manager at Core Spaces.

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The buildings that housed Casa De Lara and three other businesses will be demolished as part of this project. Several longtime State Street businesses, such as A Room of One’s Own and Community Pharmacy, have already moved.

In their place, Core Spaces is looking to build Oliv, which will be set back in a way that ensures it doesn’t tower over or scale with other buildings along State Street, the developers say.

“Reflecting input from the Monuments Commission, the project incorporates the reconstruction of existing facades…into the design of the project,” Bak said, describing how the building blends with surrounding structures. “The incorporation of these facades creates additional articulation along the wider pedestrian environment while maintaining ties to the history and character of the block.”

The Oliv plans to have approximately 1,100 student beds and is pursuing a model of providing affordable student accommodation for 10% of these beds. Students who receive financial aid to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be able to obtain a letter from UW certifying that they are receiving financial aid. The student would then provide this letter to Core Spaces and have the option of renting a bed at the Oliv at a reduced rate.

Core Spaces is seeking memorandums of understanding with the city and UW regarding the provision of affordability. According to Bak, these agreements have not yet been concluded.

“We are currently in discussions with UW-Madison and the City of Madison to establish our proposed fair housing component of the project,” Bak said.

It would be the first project built by Core Spaces that includes affordable student accommodation. The inclusion of affordability is as essential to development as building design.

Core Spaces made briefing presentations to UDC in February and May regarding Oliv and incorporated feedback from those meetings into current renders.

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