MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County and the city of Madison are back on the hunt for a suitable site for a men's shelter after a property owner pulled out of a deal to locate the facility on the city's east side.
The owner of the proposed property told city officials Tuesday night he was withdrawing his signature from the purchase and sale agreement, according to a statement from Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.
"Obviously, this is unexpected and disappointing news," Rhodes-Conway said. "But it will not deter the City and the County from our serious intent to develop a new shelter facility."
The mayor said the governments involved were already examining alternative locations.
Dane County and Madison have together committed $6 million to the project, the mayor said.
The city announced the deal to place the shelter in a vacant building at 4111 E. Towne Blvd. on Tuesday.
The proposed, comprehensive shelter with plans for overnight stays and health and social services was in the city council district of alderperson Samba Baldeh.
"This was a well-intended project," Baldeh says.
Baldeh says the seller opted for a new offer with no contingency on the sale. The city's proposed $1.3 million dollar purchase required city council approval. "They had gotten an offer that had no contingency at all, so they decided to go with that," Baldeh says.
Baldeh says it's a surprise the negotiations between sides fell apart within hours of Rhodes-Conway and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announcing their respective inclusions of money from each of their budgets for purchase and renovation. "If anything I think (Madison) Community Development (Department), it was a solid deal," he says.
The siting of shelter-type facilities have been controversial in Madison in the past. "Anything to do with the homeless population, many people are in many cases skeptical," Baldeh says.
Baldeh Tuesday told 27 News he had been contacted by a representative of one of the property's neighbors, The Princeton Club, with a voice mail that asked about the sale, "Is it a done deal?" Baldeh says he was unable to reach those representatives later Tuesday to gauge their feelings on the proposal. The Princeton Club's representatives also have yet to respond to a request for comment from 27 News.
While the statement from Rhodes-Conway refers to the property owner as a man, online city and county property records list the owner as Kara Havens-Prange of Lodi. 27 News was unable to reach Havens-Prange Wednesday. The attorney for Havens-Prange is former Madison City Councilperson Ronald Trachtenberg. 27 News asked Trachtenberg why the proposed sale to the city collapsed at the eleventh hour and who had submitted the superior, purchase offer. "No comment," Trachtenberg said.
"We have to pick up and move on again," Baldeh says.
But Rhodes-Conway Tuesday said more than a half dozen other, potential sites evaluated by city community development staff would have involved a significant time lag to city ownership that likely prevented the completion of the envisioned shelter-hub by the end of next year.