Four competing proposals aim to bring new grocery store, development to South Park Street

Pick N' Save remains closed after grease fire

The City of Madison has received four competing proposals from developers vying to bring a new grocery store to the south side, alleviating concerns that the area would be a “food desert.”

Neighbors who live in that area expressed concerns after they learned that the Pick ‘N Save on South Park Street was to be demolished and a new SSM Health Clinic would go in its place. They started a dialogue with the city, and several months later, SSM Health announced it was changing course and its clinic would go elsewhere.

The Pick ‘N Save will still likely close, but the timeline of that is unknown, according to George Reistad, Madison’s food policy director.

“We would continue to work with Roundy’s and Kroger, which we already have done, and try to figure out what that timeline looks like, what’s a feasible timeline and then work in tandem and collaborate to make sure that there is no gap in grocery store service in south Madison,” Reistad said.

The city put out a request for proposals for the Truman-Olson development, which is slated for the 3.49 acre lot at 1402 S. Park St., next door to the Pick N’ Save.

City officials received four competing proposals by the end of the deadline. All the development proposals have a grocery store included but they vary in their other components, which include affordable housing, market rate housing and retail space.

Rob Summerbell said he bikes to the Pick ‘N Save several times a week, if not every day.

“If I’m in the store, I often see neighbors that I know. It’s definitely a neighborhood store,” Summerbell said.

He said he’s disappointed at the thought of Pick ‘N Save closing but called it a “relief” that a new grocery store is on the way.

“It’s going to help neighbors that don’t have means of transportation — of which there are many who walk there — be able to have a reliable stable source of food,” he explained.

Reistad said the difficulties come in having to balance the timing of the new grocery store and the Pick ‘N Save.

“(Grocery stores) don’t co-locate well. You can’t have one right next to the other the vast majority of the time and expect them both then to be successful,” he explained.

The issue has caught the attention of two state lawmakers, who are now working on legislation aiming to prevent food deserts in the state.

The offices of Reps. Shelia Stubbs, whose legislative district covers the South Park Street area, and David Crowley said the bill is still being drafted, but they’re considering providing incentives or tax credits to grocery stores.

They had originally planned to unveil the legislation earlier this summer, but it had to go back to the drafting process after talking to members of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

The city is inviting community members to a public meeting to review and discuss the four development proposals. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Madison Labor Temple.

You can also view all four proposals here.

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