Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele purchased a condominium on the 29th floor of The Moderne in downtown Milwaukee for $2.1 million, according to state records.
The Moderne is a 30-story residential high rise built at the southwest corner of Old World Third Street and Juneau Avenue. It was built by developer Rick Barrett and completed in 2012. The building has 203 apartments, 14 condominiums and the Carson’s Prime Steaks and Famous BBQ restaurant.
Barrett is the also the developer for The Couture, a proposed $122 million, 44-story, 302-unit luxury apartment tower, which would also have 50,000 square feet of retail space and 81,560 square feet of public space, that would be built southwest of Lincoln Memorial Drive and Michigan Street at the lakefront. The site is currently occupied by Milwaukee County’s Downtown Transit Center, a bus transfer and storage facility. County officials want to attract a private development to the site and, after issuing a request for proposals, in 2012 selected Barrett’s project. Last year the County Board approved a purchase option agreement to sell the Downtown Transit Center site to Barrett for $500,000.
However, The Couture project has been delayed by a legal battle with parks advocacy group Preserve Our Parks, which says most of the site is filled lakebed and therefore private development is forbidden there by the state’s public trust doctrine. The county has filed a lawsuit against Preserve Our Parks in an attempt to establish development rights of the site.
When asked if the county executive’s purchase of a condo from Barrett presented any concerns of a conflict of interest, Abele spokesman Nate Holton said, “the county executive checked with corp. counsel prior to purchasing his new residence.”
Abele purchased condo unit 2901 in The Moderne, according to state records. That condo has 4,313 square feet of space and three bedrooms, and has an assessed value of $1,683,500 according to city records.
In a statement, Barrett said 11 of the 14 condos in The Moderne have now been sold.
“This week we closed on another condominium at The Moderne,” Barrett said. “We are very excited about the continued success of the project.”
Last year Barrett said that only a handful of apartments in the building were available for lease.