Construction for Couture could break ground next month

Contractor applies for permits, while developer transfers parcels to subsidiaries

View from N Lincoln Memorial Drive and E Michigan St. Rendering: Rinka
View from N Lincoln Memorial Drive and E Michigan St. Rendering: Rinka

Last updated on April 7th, 2021 at 12:22 pm

Construction of the Couture high-rise in downtown Milwaukee could officially begin early next month, according to recent filings with the city.

The Couture is a $188 million, 44-story building proposed for 909 E. Michigan St.

Project contractor J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., of Madison, recently filed building permit applications with the city to occupy city streets and sidewalks in the project area for construction activities.

According to those permit applications, the work could start on Monday, May 3.

Findorff says in the permit applications that it needs to occupy one driving lane each on Clybourn Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive. It will be occupied for Couture construction activities and excavation work. Some excavation work is also to take place on the sidewalk of Michigan Street.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee-based project developer Barrett-Lo Visionary Development recently transferred ownership of portions of the Couture site to subsidiary groups.

Barrett Lo affiliate The Couture LLC recently transferred parts of the Couture site to subsidiaries Couture Parking LLC and Transit Hub MKE LLC, according to state records.

The site has been divvied into three condominium units. One is for the residential tower, one for a parking garage and the last for the public transit concourse, which will be used by the city’s streetcar line and Milwaukee County’s bus rapid-transit route.

“In anticipation of closing on the financing, the developer is creating a condominium on the property and transferring ownership of each condo unit to the (three) development entities,” Mary Schanning, a real estate attorney with the Milwaukee Department of City Development, said in an email.

A Barrett Lo spokesperson did not immediately provide a comment.

Plans for The Couture were unveiled in 2012, but the project has suffered from numerous delays. The 700,000-square-foot building will include 322 residential units, commercial space and the transit center.

It is being financed in large part with a $103.5 million loan, which is being guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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