Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hilldale Makeover Update, Phase II on the Horizon

If you've been to Hilldale Shopping Center at the corner of University Ave. and Midvale Blvd. lately, you've begun to notice the changes taking place.  Since last Fall, the Mall has been undergoing a $15 Million renovation.

The major overhaul, including a pedestrian walkway that cuts through the original Mall between Macy's and Metcalfe's, is beginning to take shape and the build-outs of the new retail spaces that will line that outdoor pedestrian mall are in progress.

For those of us who have been around Madison a while, we recall when Hilldale was an outdoor mall.  It originally opened in 1962.  It was transformed into an enclosed indoor mall some years later.  And more recently another transformation into it's current indoor/outdoor venue is being expanded further by this new redevelopment.

New retail stores slated to be a part of the new retail space include Sperry Top-Sider, Micheal Kors, kate spade New York, Lucky Brand, as well as others.  Many of these new stores are ready to open their doors soon.  The fencing is scheduled to come down on June 1st.  Here's a preliminary schedule of store openings:

June 1- Lucky and Morgans should be in their new space
June 2- Press event with local news about the remodel and the stores that are opening.
June 3- Sur la Table
June 5- Kate Spade and Mes Amis
June 12- Lush

As the current phase is completed, phase II is on the horizon.  The second phase includes incorporating the mall in front of Macy's as part of the Macy's store, so what is now the mall entrance will be the new entrance into Macy's.  Phase II also includes demolition of the indoor mall from Macy's to Sundance Theater and the University Bookstore to build outdoor retail space similar to the current construction underway on the north end of the mall.

Lots of exciting things happening at Hilldale!  A rejuvenation in progress!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Many of you attended graduation parties, gorged yourself on brats at BratFest, took in the polar bears at the new exhibit at the Henry Vilas Zoo and spent timing honoring the military over the past weekend.  Those events signify the beginning of summer…hurrah!

A few years ago, when gas prices were very high, I did a post on a Staycation; “stay” close to home and explore all southern Wisconsin has to offer.  Well, gas prices have come down, but a Staycation is still a great opportunity to grab a mini-vacation for a day or two here and there throughout the summer.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

This unusual attraction began in 1945 as the brain-child of Alex Jordan who envisioned a retreat built on top of Deer Shelter Rock.  The attraction is open year round and includes the house, the Inn and the Resort.

Get lost in the life of a rural Wisconsin resident of the late 19th century at Old World Wisconsin.   The living museum is a re-creation of working farmsteads and settlements established by European immigrants looking for a better life. 

At the confluence on the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers in the town of Wyalusing, the park offers spectacular views, hiking and camping. It’s the perfect destination for a day trip or an overnight camping experience.

Not much time?  Take a scenic drive north on Hwy. 113 and take the Merrimac Ferry across the Wisconsin River from Merrimac to Okee.  It’s the only free ferry in the state and runs 24 hours a day seven days a week from April-November.  Grab an ice cream cone at the Ferry stop while you wait!

Whatever you summer plans, be sure to take advantage of all Madison and the state have to offer.  The opportunities are endless.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Construction Season

Ahh, spring in Wisconsin.  The flowers are in bloom, the grass is getting green and construction season has arrived.  Drat!  I know it's a necessary evil, and with Wisconsin winters, road construction is condensed into a few short months but it's still an obstacle course trying to navigate the road signs and closed streets.

There are some major projects happening in the Westmorland and Sunset Village neighborhoods.  Sunset Village residents were informed last winter that the sewer laterals that were installed in the 1940's were outdated.  I know, hard to believe, but it's true.

Over the course of the next few years several streets will be under construction to replace those aging laterals.  In some areas, curb and gutter will be added to the street.  The process has already begun on South Owen Drive between Mineral Point Rd. and Hillcrest Dr.  The city is set to begin the same process on Larkin Street between Mineral Point Rd. and Hillcrest Dr. in the coming days.

Construction of left turn lanes at Mineral Point Rd. and Midvale Blvd. will begin in mid-June.  That project will include long-overdue turn signals in all directions.  That project is scheduled for completion by Labor Day.

Of course, road construction continues at the Verona Rd. interchange, which is already proving to be a huge improvement to traffic flow in that area.  You can find out more about area construction projects here.

As you navigate Madison streets this summer, try to stop and smell the flowers and remind yourself that the necessary evil that is construction season will make life easier when the snow flies!

Monday, May 11, 2015

March-April 2015 Home Sales

It's a crazy spring Real Estate market!  Similar to 2014, the selling season began earlier than in previous years.  Below is a sampling of homes on the near west side of Madison that have sold in late March and early April.

If you are considering buying or selling a property, now is the time to act while the market is HOT!  Let me know if I can help!

Happy spring!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spring in Madison

There is nothing quite like Madison in the spring!  People are out in droves!  The strollers are dusted off, the bikes come out and people are walking, running, and just plain enjoying the great outdoors.

As spring rolls in, some of the tried and true mainstays that make Madison great have started up.  The Farmer's Market is in full swing, Henry Vilas Zoo is busy and the Madison Parks Department has delivered the picnic tables and trash cans to area parks.

Here are a couple of other Madison traditions that are coming up or opening for the season:

Olbrich Botanical Plant Sale with the Pros:
A wonderful place to find beautiful plants to display in your garden.  The sale runs May 8 & 9th and offers unique plants carefully chosen to thrive in our Wisconsin climate along with advice from area professionals.

Wingra and Brittingham Boats:
Both locations open Sunday May 9th and will be open weekends through the month of May.  A beautiful place to rent a boat and paddle Lake Wingra or Monona Bay.  Grab a snack when you finish!

Whatever you decide to do, get out and enjoy!