Construction work has continued to connect Milwaukee’s The Hop streetcar to the lakefront and incoming Couture luxury tower.
Construction crews from Nebraska-based Kiewet Corporation will install 1,000 feet of track from North Cass Street through the Couture Development. Crews will also connect the new line to existing track on East Clybourn Street a Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) spokesperson told The Daily Reporter Friday
The contractor will perform additional adjacent pavement work on Michigan Avenue after the July 4 holiday going until August, the spokesperson added.
The project will complete the unfinished portion of the Lakefront Line which is part of a long-standing agreement with the federal government and the developer of the Couture that was approved in 2015, the DPW spokesperson noted.
Construction work started on April 17, the spokesperson said. Kiewet is the contractor that constructed the existing street car tracks in 2018.
As previously reported by The Daily Reporter, the Couture’s construction manager said the developer plans to use the ground floor lobby to connect streetcar tracks between East Michigan Avenue and East Clybourn Street.
Expanding the streetcar along the lakefront and into The Couture building will be a “great asset” to the city and represents a significant successful public and private partnership, Rick Barrett, the president of Barrett Lo Visionary Development, told The Daily Reporter.
“The expansion of the streetcar along the lakefront and into The Couture building will be a great asset to our city and represents a significant successful public/private partnership. We hope that The Hop’s lakefront loop will eventually be just one jewel in the necklace of additional tracks that connect the City of Milwaukee from Marquette University to the Fiserv Forum and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to Bayview. When riders step off The Hop at The Couture, they’ll be able to take advantage of the building’s new public park and premium retail spaces, as well as the art museum, Discovery World and the many other shops and attractions in downtown Milwaukee,” Barrett said in a statement.
Barrett said the residential portion of the Couture project will be completed in late 2023.
While speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Republican lawmakers proposed a budget that could restrict the city from expanding the streetcar, according to multiple reports.
On Wednesday, Milwaukee revealed its strategy to double downtown’s population, including a “catalytic project” to extend the streetcar’s route to more neighborhoods.
“Conne+ing Downtown,” the city’s plan for downtown development for the next two decades, includes a proposal to extend the streetcar to the Walker’s Point, Bronzeville, Westown and further into the East Side neighborhoods.