The Capitol East District: Gateway to the Future

The fastest road to recovery for Madison, and by extension the greater Madison region, is to be found in its aspiration to be a global city. Madison must build the commerce, culture and concentrated research to attract the entrepreneurship, creativity, jobs and wealth that will allow it to rely less on state and federal governments and compete with other urban centers around the world. That requires vision and leadership. It also requires a place, a geographic location upon which to build. The Capitol East District is that place.

This is a big idea. It is very likely the single biggest urban development of the next fifty years. Perhaps more. It is important to envision it. Imagine standing on the corner of East Washington Avenue at Blair Street and looking east. On either side of the avenue are clusters of new, green-built buildings, housing laboratories, offices and loft space. Researchers are working on the science of clean energy, the next models of social networking, digital technology and bio-manufacturing. New rental properties and condominiums are interwoven with urban gardens, electric car-charging stations and bike paths leading to Central Park. Breese Stevens Field is hosting a soccer tournament, workers are leaving the UW Metro Innovation Center to eat lunch at one of the new restaurants down the street with a stop at the market to pick up something for dinner that evening. Visitors stop into the galleries and shops, operated by artists and craftspeople who walked to work from their homes along Main Street. And everywhere there are pedestrians, bikers and street life. There is energy. And there are jobs. Hundreds of jobs.

The Capitol East District is the future, the link from the Square to the transportation and education hubs at either end. It is the center of a new, global city. But we must imagine it first. This special section is the start.

 Neil Heinen

 READ MORE STORIES

The New Global Gateway: With remarkable unity, businesses, neighborhoods and government embrace a plan to reinvigorate the East Washington corridor. The Capitol East District is a new magnet for innovation, creativity and jobs. 

Built to Last: Modeled after a successful project in Madison’s sister city of Freiburg, Germany, the Madison Sustainability Commerce Center promises to connect eco-minded businesses and customers.

Urban Dwellers: The Capitol east district will provide the live-work amenities today’s entrepreneurs crave.

Ready, Set, Go! Now’s the time to revitalize the Capitol East District, say the businesses and residents who’ve been there for years.

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