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Lakefront Couture high-rise could break ground in October

This rendering shows the 44-story Couture project standing to the left of the US. Bank building and Northwestern Mutual's new headquarters tower. (Rendering courtesy of Rinka Chung Architects)

This rendering shows the 44-story Couture project standing to the left of the US. Bank building and Northwestern Mutual’s new headquarters tower. (Rendering courtesy of Rinka Chung Architects)

The 44-story Couture high-rise along Milwaukee’s lakefront is scheduled to break ground in October, the city development director told a committee Tuesday.

Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of City Development, told the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee on Tuesday that city officials expect developers to assemble financing on the project by October and break ground 30 days later. The Couture high-rise is planned for 909 E. Michigan St., near lakefront parks, the Milwaukee Art Museum and other attractions.

Although the developer of the project had planned to break ground in January, rising construction costs caused Rick Barrett, of Barrett Lo Visionary Development, to revisit the price of the project, delaying work, Marcoux told the committee.

“With all of the development that has been going on and construction prices rising, Rick had to do some work with his estimates,” Marcoux said.

Developers pegged the cost of the entire project at $122 million last spring. It could take 30 months and some 4,400 workers to complete the Couture. Barrett Lo has also applied for a U.S. Housing and Urban Development loan guarantee for the project, Marcoux said.

Current plans call for the 312-unit apartment complex to have a stop on the new downtown streetcar’s lakefront line, along with 52,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Barrett Lo demolished the former Milwaukee County Transit System building at the site last year to make way for the new complex.

Marcoux also told the committee that Barrett had selected Madison-based J.H. Findorff & Son as the general contractor for the project. Findorff also demolished the former transit building and prepared the site for development.

Findorff had previously worked as Barrett Lo’s general contractor on another project: The Moderne, a $55 million, 30-story building at 1141 N. Old World Third St.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show the correct spelling of J.H. Findorff & Son’s name. We regret the error.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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