After months of site work and digging, crews have created a big enough hole at The Couture site, setting up the project for the next stages of construction. "The Couture’s construction teams have made incredible progress on site, having recently reached the bottom of the hole," Rick Barrett, founder and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Barrett Lo Visionary Development, said in a statement to BizTimes. The Couture is the long-planned 44-story apartment tower under construction at 909 E. Michigan St. near the downtown Milwaukee lakefront. The nearly $190 million development will contain 322 residential units, 42,000 square feet of commercial space, a transit center, public park space and a network of pedestrian bridges. Construction work began in May at the site, where the former Milwaukee County Downtown Transit Center once stood. Crews began by digging a hole where the underground parking levels will be. A sewer line is also being relocated to the western edge of the property. "We are now preparing to begin pile driving, and will follow that process by erecting a tower crane in early 2022 before beginning vertical construction," Barrett said. Each pile will have a capacity of 400 tons, Chad Griswold, partner at Milwaukee-based project architect Rinka, said this week at the Urban Spaceship conference on urbanism in Milwaukee. "I'm told this is the highest capacity that's ever been achieved in the city," Griswold. "Just for comparison, the previous was about 300. It's providing a very robust system." Crews will drive the piles about 110 feet below grade, in order to reach bedrock. That's what will give the piles the 400-ton capacity, he said. Griswold said vertical construction "will happen fast" once crews reach that point. He said they will be able to complete about a floor of the tower itself each week. Griswold shared other project facts during his presentation at the Urban Spaceship event. The penthouses will be two stories tall. This makes the building technically 45 stories tall, he said. At 517 feet, The Couture will become the fourth tallest in the city and state. The apartments will vary in size, from 525 feet for the smallest studio units up to 2,200 square feet for the penthouses, he said. The floorplates are smaller in order to maintain the thin profile of the building. The Couture's structural system will be about 50 feet wide and 560 feet in height. This shows The Couture will be a very slender tower, Griswold said. Construction is slated for completion in late 2023.
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