Madison’s Redevelopment Commission Wednesday opened offers on the two tracts of land the city hopes to get developed at the former Madison Plaza site at the intersection of Clifty Drive and Michigan Road on Madison’s hilltop.

The city had offered the two tracts — one the former strip mall property and the other a never before developed wooded parcel — for commercial redevelopment and new development as multi-family housing with assigned offer sheets of $1.7 million for the commercial site and $750,000 for the housing, respectively. After giving potential investors more than a month to consider the proposals and their options for the property, two bids — one for each tract — were received.

The bid on the wooded parcel just did meet the city’s $750,000 minimum while the bid on the commercial site fell well short at $1.2 million. Neither bidder was identified by the Commission and both offers were taken under advisement.

According to Joe Jenner, attorney for the City of Madison and the Redevelopment Commission, the city must contractually delay rebidding either tract for at least 30 days and by taking the bids under advisement it will give the city time to consider the proposals and weigh its options.

“This gives us time to discuss how we want to pursue this,” Jenner noted.

Although the Commission seemed ready to reject the commercial bid, no decision was made on Wednesday, leaving the matter open to further discussions and options.

The city has offered the current property owner, Madison Plaza Group LLC, a combined $2.75 million contract for the roughly 23 acre site with hopes of stimulating development of a site that has seen little activity for close to 20 years and has sat cleared for redevelopment the last five years.

Mayor Bob Courtney has said the $2.75 million would be a good investment if it converts a site that has become an non-producing eyesore, developed and paying higher taxes and creating jobs. He estimated the two tracts could lead to $40 million in new capital investment.

However, since the city began negotiations with the property owner the nation has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with businesses shut down for months and many closing entirely. Just this week JC Penney announced that its Madison store was one of 154 stores that will close as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

“The COVID crisis has slowed down the timing of our potential development partners,” Courtney said while respond to a text on Friday.