New building is a family affair

Earl, Linda and William Miller put up mixed-use project on Madison.

The new mixed-use building nearing completion on the west side of South Madison Avenue, abutting the driveway into the Madison Retirement Center, is a do-it-yourself proposition for the Miller family.

Earl Miller and his wife Linda designed it. Son William is the principal owner. And family members are acting as general contractors and day-to-day crew bosses.

After two-plus years of seeking permit approvals and another year of building, the project is almost ready to go to market.

“This is a true mixed-use project,” Earl Miller said, “with retail on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and a residence on the upper floor.”

The ground level will have two storefronts totalling roughly 1,800 square feet. Miller said he is working on the last details of a lease for one of the spaces with a tenant who asks not to be named at this point, and is fielding queries for the other space.

He expects both spaces will be occupied and fully functional by the end of the year.

The second floor has four offices, presently unfinished but being leased now, with the final configuration and such things as carpet selection awaiting the choice of the tenants.

“They are suitable for attorneys or similar uses,” Miller said. “The office market is pretty soft right now, so it could take us a year to lease those spots.”

The top floor is a three-bedroom, two-bath unit that Miller says will likely be sold rather than rented, and “for a good amount of money,” offering as it does sweeping views of Eagle Harbor from the balconies outside of the living room and the master bedroom.

A limiting factor, he said, is parking – 12 spaces are available in the rear parking lot, but additional parking is limited.

“We need tenants who do not depend on a high volume of traffic,” he said. “We couldn’t have considered a restaurant, for example.”

Miller, who owns several other downtown properties, has had his differences with city government, especially over the Strawberry Plant property at the foot of Weaver Road, where he fought a losing legal battle to rebuild after a fire.

But he thinks the island’s prospects are excellent.

“This is a very, very good market,” he said. “I see a lot of potential in Winslow.

“It’s going to be something very special if we let it.”

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