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Feb. 18--A developer is proposing to build a six-story hotel that would be the closest to UW-Madison's 17,230-seat Kohl Center.

Mortenson Development is proposing a full-service hotel with about 176 guest rooms and amenities on a parking lot at 760 Regent St. The site is just across the Southwest Commuter Path and railroad tracks from the Kohl Center, 601 W. Dayton St., and abuts the southern end of East Campus Mall.

The hotel would offer an entrance lobby, bar and restaurant on the first floor; a fitness room, meeting space and a covered balcony on the second floor; and guest rooms on the four floors above. A parking garage with 235 stalls would be embedded beneath part of the hotel tower, augmenting existing surface spaces.

The building would feature a mix of exterior materials and be two stories facing the bike path and railroad tracks, and six stories facing existing commercial buildings that front Regent Street.

In its application, Mortenson's architect, Kahler Slater, said, "This new hotel is intended to increase density on an undeveloped parcel and provide an activated use at an important gateway to the campus while providing unparalleled accommodations for guests to Madison and the University of Wisconsin."

Mortenson declined to comment.

The developer made an informational presentation to the city's Urban Design Commission this week. The commission offered design-related feedback but took no votes. It's unclear if, or how, Mortenson might tweak or revise plans as it moves forward through the city's review process.

Ald. Zach Wood, 8th District, who represents the area, supports the project.

"Simply put, it is a good use for that parcel, and certainly more productive than the surface parking that's there now," Wood said. "The proposal provides an exciting use for an underutilized parcel, and provides additional hotel rooms to serve the Kohl Center, the UW as a whole, as well as Downtown.

"Members of the Regent Street community have been talking for years about how to best revitalize and activate the area," he said. "This project is a strong step in that direction."

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