Madison aldermen last week approved plans for the first building at the new Magnolia District. The two-story building will face Montgomery Street and construction is expected to begin this fall.
Madison aldermen last week approved plans for the first building at the new Magnolia District. The two-story building will face Montgomery Street and construction is expected to begin this fall.
MADISON — Aldermen approved the final site plan for the first building in part of a new Magnolia District development paving the way for construction to begin this fall.

Local attorney Greg Johnston, the developer on the project known as the Magnolia District, said he hopes to break ground in September on the first of 10 buildings planned for the area between Montgomery and Magnolia Street just north of Madison Avenue.

This first building will be located on Montgomery Street, with the front of the building facing a new parking area to the west. Johnston said the building will include 9,000 square feet of luxury retail and professional office space, once completed.

“I’ve always been passionate about this area,” Johnston said Wednesday. “My grandparents owned an antique shop here that was originally built in 1903. I fixed it up and located my law office here. I’ve long admired the seven acres just south (the site of the development) and my business partner Chuck Bell and I were able to acquire that land a few years ago.”

The seven acres is currently home to Rock’s Barber Shop, on the corner of Madison and Magnolia Street, as well as three old houses. Johnston said he plans to move the three houses, which he considers historic, and preserve them. Rock’s will continue to operate in its current space, but will relocate to the new building upon its completion, slated for summer of 2021.

When the entire project is finished, the Magnolia District is designed to include at least 71,000 feet of retail space. Old Town Construction of Madison, LLC is the contractor on the project, with Madison’s own David Wilson serving as its architect.

“The building itself is inspired by early 20th-century architecture,” Johnston said. “We wanted it to match the rustic aesthetic of the new city center area.



The Magnolia District is being developed in conjunction with the Madison at Main development, which was announced last year and is expected to create 17 acres of mixed-use space that will include high-end condominiums, retail space, a specialty food market and a boutique hotel, among other amenities.

Phase one of that project, set for completion in 2021, will include a new City Hall.

Ward 6 Alderman Guy Bowering said Wednesday the excitement around the two projects is palpable.

“It’s very exciting to see that we’re going to actually see some construction in the very near future,” Bowering said. “The excitement around these projects is hard to describe. I don’t want to take away from any other projects going on in the city, we’re excited about all of them. But this is going to provide Madison with a new city center that we expect to become our crown jewel.”

Also under construction and down the road on Main Street is the Village at Madison, that will be comprised of both residential and commercial construction. The first building set to open in August or September is the Half Shell Oyster House.