Couture developer reapplies for HUD loan guarantee

The Couture
A rendering of The Couture, courtesy of Rinka.

Last updated on September 4th, 2020 at 12:20 pm

The developer for The Couture has reapplied for a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, marking another small milestone in the process to develop the long-awaited $122 million, 44-story luxury residential tower near the downtown Milwaukee lakefront.

Milwaukee-based Barrett Lo Visionary Development formally submitted its application on Tuesday, according to HUD spokeswoman Gina Rodriguez.

The application is for a “direct-to-firm commitment,” which means the project does not have to go through the pre-application stage a second time. The first application period expired in July 2019, since Barrett Lo had not secured all the needed equity financing for the project.

Rick Barrett, founder and chief executive officer of Barrett Lo, then announced in June his firm had secured the remaining equity, and had been invited by HUD to formally reapply. But it wasn’t until this week that the application was actually submitted to the department.

And more needs to happen before construction can take place. The application still needs HUD approval. Rodriguez said in an email the application needs to be screened and found acceptable for review. Following that, HUD has 60 days to review it, take it to the National Loan Committee and issue either a commitment or rejection.

Specifics of the HUD application process and other aspects of the project, such as needed infrastructure work for the site, were detailed in a recent BizTimes Milwaukee Real Estate Spotlight feature.

Barrett first unveiled plans for The Couture in 2012, which would be built southwest of Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive. In the time since it has faced a number of challenges, including a court battle over whether private development could occur at the site.

A spokesperson for Barrett Lo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We believe the city and county deserve an extraordinary building on this extraordinary site,” Barrett said in a statement back in June. “We are not willing to settle for less for the community we love. As we have said throughout this process, we are working tirelessly to make this iconic, transformative building a reality.”

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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