Development might come to long vacant spaces at the East Towne Mall

The city is eager for multi-use housing and may happen soon on the East side.

A vacant department store with an empty parking lot in the foreground.JPG

The former location of the Boston Store at the East Towne Mall is now up for sale. | Photo by 608today

Much of the East Towne Mall is vacant storefronts and empty parking lots. But, perhaps, for not much longer. There’s potential for new mixed-use housing.


It hasn’t always been empty. Sears anchored the mall but now is gone. Menards and Gander Mountain were located there but moved elsewhere. The old Boston Store space has sat vacant since it closed in 2018.


Times are changing. The city has rezoned the property to allow for mixed-use developments. Now, the site is for sale with hopes that the next owner can bring housing to the area. The 15-acre parcel could host more than 1,000 apartments.

Madison city planner Angela Puerta recently said, “There isn’t much low residential within the East Towne Mall, but we do see the potential of changing those big boxes, expansive parking lots and disconnected street network into totally the opposite.”


The property is part of the city’s Northeast Area Plan, one of 12 plans that the city is developing to shape Madison’s future. The plan kicked off in January 2023 addressing land use, transportation, economic development, and more.

Interested parties can subscribe to an email list to keep tabs on the plan’s progress. Additionally, public meetings will be held later this spring for citizens to offer input on the drafted plan. Those dates have yet to be announced but should be finalized in the coming weeks.

“We want to hear from everyone,” Puerta said. “We have our expertise as professional planners, but we are not on a day-to-day basis living in that area. So we need more people to participate.”

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