The committee evaluating proposals for Judge Doyle Square -- the two-block area that includes the Madison Municipal Building downtown -- eliminated one of the four development teams from contention Thursday night.
City officials say a new hotel is necessary to help the convention center compete for business, a strategy that has been criticized.
Four development teams submitted proposals for the project, but the committee decided Thursday to interview only three of them. In addition to the hotel and underground parking, the proposals also include plans for housing and retail.
Two developers were deemed to have met the qualifications asked for by the city: one proposal (PDF) is by JDS Development (a joint venture of Hammes Company and Majestic Realty) and the other proposal (PDF) is by the Journeyman Group.
But two others were found lacking. A proposal (PDF) from Mortensen Development did not identify a full development team and failed to offer a basic concept, according to George Austin, project manager for Judge Doyle Square. "It seemed to me they were just going through the motions to get their name in there," said committee member Gregory Frank.
The committee was also disappointed by a proposal (PDF) from North Central Group, because it only included plans for one of the two blocks. However, because several members said they loved the approach for that block, it decided to give the team a chance to modify its proposal in time for an interview later this month.
"The proposal for [the one block] was fantastic, but we asked for both," said member Adam Plotkin. "It's hard to say no to this one."
The teams will be interviewed at Monona Terrace in public sessions. Journeyman will present at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 16. The Judge Doyle Square Group will be interviewed at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 29. North Central Group will be interviewed later that same evening at 7:30 p.m.