Couture developer says he’s secured enough equity for project

Resubmits application for HUD loan guarantee

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

Last updated on June 29th, 2020 at 12:08 pm

Developer Rick Barrett says he has secured the remaining needed equity for The Couture, the long-planned 44-story luxury residential tower near the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee, and has resubmitted the project for a loan guarantee through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The $122 million project is planned southwest of Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive. Barrett, founder and chief executive of Milwaukee-based Barrett Lo Visionary Development, first unveiled plans for The Couture in 2012. But vertical construction still has not commenced, and Barrett has been working to secure enough equity to resubmit an application for the HUD guarantee. Barrett Lo’s previous loan application expired in July 2019.

Barrett announced Friday he has secured the financing he needs for the project and has been invited by HUD to reapply for the loan guarantee.

“Earlier this month, we secured the equity funding needed to advance the project and resubmitted our project to HUD,” Barrett said in a statement on Friday. “This week, we received a formal invitation letter from HUD and look forward to working closely with them as they review the project.”

A spokesperson for Barrett Lo declined to provide additional details. A HUD spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The project has been here before.

The project reached what Barrett called a “major milestone” in November 2018, after HUD asked the developer to submit additional information for its loan guarantee application. This signaled the project could have soon moved forward with its needed financing.

Barrett Lo was given multiple extensions to its deadline to complete the application. But Barrett announced last summer his firm would voluntarily allow the HUD application deadline to expire as it continued working on securing its last piece of financing.

In the time since, the patience of some city and county leaders had begun to wear thin with some saying Milwaukee County should pull the plug on the project. The county sold the site, formerly occupied by a bus storage and transfer facility, to Barrett.

A pair of city officials then said in May they expected “good news” on the project by the end of this month.

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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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