The developer of the long-planned Couture project has secured a crucial $103.5 million federal loan guarantee.
That sets the stage for construction to start in January on the 44-story, $188 million mixed-use skyscraper on Milwaukee’s lakefront, according to Barrett Lo Visionary Development.
The developer of The Couture announced its receipt of the needed loan guarantee from the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development on Monday. That was the final financial hurdle the project had to cross before work on it could get underway.
The guarantee comes months after the developer announced it had secured private equity financing for the project. Before that, plans for The Couture had languished for years.
“HUD’s Firm Commitment marks the final financial commitment required for us to begin construction on The Couture,” said Rick Barrett, operator of Barrett Lo. “We are thrilled to be working with the city, county and HUD on this catalytic development that will transform this vacant site into a dynamic public space that improves access to the lakefront, creates thousands of new jobs and adds a signature building to Milwaukee’s skyline.”
Besides bringing more than 300 luxury apartments and restaurant and retail space to the corner of East Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive, The Couture will have stops for both The Hop streetcar and a proposed rapid-transit bus line that could eventually whisk passengers to Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa. The accommodations for public-transportation were also a crucial part of the deal since, without them, local taxpayers could have been on the hook for a $6.7 million grant the federal government gave Milwaukee County for the construction of a bus center on the site now set aside for The Couture.
That center was knocked down starting in 2016 to make room for the high-rise project. Federal officials might have recouped the $6.7 million if the project developers hadn’t found a way to incorporate public transportation into The Couture.
“The Couture is much more than a landmark building,” Barrett said. “It will be a true destination that achieves what the Downtown Transit Center was meant to become – a lively, multi-modal transportation hub at Milwaukee’s lakefront.”
J.H. Findorff is the general contractor on The Couture project and Rinka is the principal architecture firm.Follow @TDR_WLJDan