McKenzie Place apartments provide facelift to Northside gateway


By Lauri Lee
Northside Economic Development Coalition

The Sherman/Fordem gateway to the Northside from downtown received a facelift last year when the McKenzie Place apartments were built. The upscale 60-unit apartment building at 2221 Sherman Ave., Madison, offers a view from the upper balconies of the State Capitol straight down Sherman Avenue, is about 250 yards from the lake and adjacent to Burrows Park. To avoid obstructing the view, telephone wires were buried. There is 6,700 square feet for restaurant/retail being developed on the lower level.

“When revitalizing the property you own in your own ‘hood,” said owner John Fish, “you want to be proud of it and have other people like it as well.” The property holds special meaning for Fish. He was the third generation to own and operate Fish and Schulkamp Insurance, which moved to the triangle-shaped property at Sherman and Fordem in 1962. Fish purchased the business from his father and operated it until 2000, when he sold it. “This project is personal for me,” said Fish. “McKenzie was my mother’s maiden name and it is also the name of my 6-year-old daughter,” he said. “McKenzie Place isn’t just another project, it’s my legacy.”

Fish wanted to bring new life to the east and north sides of Madison with his apartment and retail development. The apartments benefit from being close to the airport, which appeal as much to young Epic professionals as retirees who travel and have homes in Florida. The apartments feature large open floor plans, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Each apartment is equipped with a washer and dryer.

The amenities of the nonsmoking apartments include a fitness center, rooftop social room with indoor and outdoor seating on the terrace (room includes fireplace, bar area with cupboards and sink, TVs and Wi-Fi), a first floor fireplace lounge with Wi-Fi, upper level balconies, secure elevators, an outdoor grilling area and garden plots. There are 60 stalls in the underground parking garage as well as storage units and trash chutes. It is not only dog and cat friendly, there is also a pet waste station and a dog washing station. To take advantage of the immediate access to the lake through Burrows Park, there are outdoor canoe/kayak storage racks. When the retail and restaurant spaces are leased, tenants will have convenient access to these establishments as well.

The lower level of the building is allocated for a combination of uses such as a restaurant, coffee shop, small businesses or retail stores. The space has not been filled while the right mix of tenants is found.

The 3,000-square-foot glass triangle space with lots of light and a roof-covered outdoor patio area is slotted for a restaurant. “I’d like to find a restaurant that would appeal to and be a destination for the surrounding community,” Fish said. “We’re looking for the right fit for the neighborhood. The ideal restaurant wouldn’t be open too late, have delicious food, decent beer and be a nice place to hang out.”

McKenzie Place is located at 2221 Sherman Ave. To lease, contact Chris Richards at Oakbrook Corporation, phone: 443-1039.