The 44-story Couture apartment tower, under construction near the downtown Milwaukee lakefront, could see tenants move into the first 20 residential floors of the building by this time next year, according to developer Rick Barrett who spoke to Rotary Club of Milwaukee members on Tuesday morning.
Barrett, owner of Barrett Lo Visionary Development, gave an update on the project, which will include 322 market rate apartments, a two-story intermodal transit center served by The Hop streetcar and the East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line expected to ready for riders next year. There will also be 42,000 square feet of commercial space spread across the lower four floors of the building, a public park and a series of pedestrian bridges that will connect the site to the lakefront and its surroundings.
All told, 25% of the total building and 97% of its ground level are design for public use, Barret said.
As part of the presentation Barrett shared a short, animated film designed to give those gathered a sneak peek at what the intermodal station and other public spaces of the building will look like, as well as what some of renderings of the rooftop pool planned for the guest ‘clubhouse’ area, and virtual tours of what some of the apartment spaces might look like. The video also featured a new logo for the development.
“It will be the new gateway between the lakefront and all the wonderful cultural jewels we have downtown at the lakefront already. This building will fit into that texture,” he said. “Hop riders will actually travel through the building.”
Construction to complete the extension of the The Hop streetcar track through the intermodal station at The Couture is expected to begin on April 3 of next year, a company spokesperson said.
Barret began pursuing the Couture project a decade ago, but construction didn’t begin on the project until May 2021.
Much of the construction work that has taken place over the past year and a half has been underground, but Barrett told attendees to expect to see visible, above-ground progress very soon.
“We have been playing in the dirt for a long time … during the construction of this project we have been wrestling with that body of water just east of us – Lake Michigan. We had to build a curved retention system, which is basically a bathtub the surrounds the site and holds Lake Michigan back,” Barrett said. “To see where we are right now, to see how dry the site is, to have a basement 40 feet down and have it be dry? It is an engineering marvel.”
With that feat having been achieved, Barrett said the “core of the building is now three stories up" and that the public should expect to see the "four-story retail and concrete base" completed by Christmas.
“By Christmas you will see a monumental difference,” he said.
The timeline for the completion of the remaining 40 stories of the building was less clear, but Barret said that the project's lead contractor, Findorff, should soon be on track to complete a story every four days.
“We will put a temporary roof system on floor 24, and hopefully start finishing floors four through 24 (next year),” Barret said, adding the tenants on lower the floors would be moving in by next fall.
A spokesperson confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the developer is pursuing a temporary occupancy permit up through the 24th floor for fall of 2023.
If approved it would mean that tenants could move into the building while work continues on the floors above.
[caption id="attachment_516082" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] Night view rendering of The Couture from North Lincoln Memorial Drive and East Clybourn Street. Rendering: Rinka[/caption]