street-level view of the Theory Madison building
Theory Madison / MadisonWI
Building Connectivity to Empower a City

Situated in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin, the Theory Madison project represents a groundbreaking initiative aimed at maximizing the economic development potential of an underutilized site and addressing the City’s critical infrastructure needs. This visionary project reimagines the existing State Street Campus Garage and its surroundings to create a dynamic mixed-use space tailored to the diverse needs of residents, students, visitors, and businesses

The core of the project revolves around the integration of an intercity bus terminal, public parking structure and housing units. The 12-story building includes over 700 beds, 100 affordable beds for University students, 2 levels of loft apartment units, as well as two outdoor amenity terraces to take advantage of the remarkable views of the City, lakes, Capitol, and University. This turn-key comprehensive approach maximizes the utility of the site, and fosters a vibrant and interconnected urban environment.

Facts And Figures

Completion: June 2026

Delivery Methods

Develop Design-Build



Theory Madison aligns closely with the City's vision for a thriving downtown district that balances economic growth, transportation efficiency, and community well-being. By strategically repurposing an aging City-owned asset and leveraging public-private partnership model, the project will achieve several key objectives.


  • Enhanced Connectivity: By incorporating an intercity bus terminal, the project offers improved transportation options, enhancing connectivity between downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin campus.
  • Economic Development: Redeveloping the State Street Campus Garage site presents an opportunity to generate additional tax revenue while stimulating economic and retail activity. Activated ground-floor spaces along Lake Street aim to enhance the connectivity between University Avenue and State Street.
  • Housing Solutions: With a focus on mixed-income housing, the project addresses the demand for affordable and market-rate housing for University of Wisconsin students. Residential units integrated into the development provide diverse housing options.
  • Sustainability: The project prioritizes sustainability and environmental stewardship through thoughtful design and implementation, including the pursuit of LEED Silver certification from the USGBC. Energy-efficient building materials, high efficiency systems, and innovative stormwater management solutions aim to minimize the project's ecological footprint.


Joining the family of Theory student housing developments, Theory Madison will provide an immersive living experience designed to nurture academic success, foster community engagement, and inspire personal growth. Construction of the parking structure marks the beginning of an exciting chapter for Theory Madison and the City of Madison. With Mortenson's meticulous planning and execution, the student housing phase of the project is slated for completion by summer 2026, perfectly timed to welcome a new wave of students for the academic year.

The Team


Mortenson Development, Inc. (MDI)

Northwestern Mutual Life