Want to Read More?
Paid BizTimes subscribers get unlimited access to all Insider content and much more. Learn more in our Insider FAQ.
Already an Insider? Log In
Or click here to purchase a paywall bypass link for this article.
We are told it will finally happen in 2021.
The Couture, a long-anticipated luxury apartment tower planned near the downtown Milwaukee lakefront, is finally to start construction. A groundbreaking announcement is expected any day.
After securing a federal loan guarantee, Milwaukee-based Barrett Lo Visionary Development announced in November its $188 million, 44-story project was headed for an early 2021 groundbreaking. It will create more than 300 apartments southwest of East Michigan Street and North Lincoln Memorial Drive.
Barrett Lo initially said groundbreaking was anticipated for January, and development agreements with local governments require it to happen by Feb. 1. It hadn’t occurred as of mid-January, and a Barrett Lo spokesperson did not provide a specific date it would happen. The project is anticipated to be completed by August 2023.
As it happens, The Couture is only one of a few high-rise residential towers in the works for downtown. Construction commenced late summer of 2020 on Ascent, a 25-story, 259-unit apartment tower northeast of East Kilbourn and North Van Buren avenues. Ascent is being developed by Milwaukee-based firms New Land Enterprises and Wiechmann Enterprises and is slated for completion in summer 2022.
Another planned apartment tower appears to still be a bit away from breaking ground, as the developer works to secure project financing. Travaux Inc., the development arm of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, is planning a 32-story mixed-income tower northwest of East Knapp and North Milwaukee streets. It would contain as many as 350 affordable and market-rate units.
HACM spokeswoman Amy Hall said the development team is working through internal approvals and “examining options” for resident income mix and project financing.
A number of corporate projects will make progress in the Milwaukee area in 2021.
The rapidly growing Brookfield-based Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. is developing a $100 million multi-purpose campus in Menomonee Falls. The campus is located along Flint Drive, north of Good Hope Road.
Plans consist of two buildings, with more in the works. An existing 52,000-square-foot office building has been renovated and is up and running as of this month, said spokeswoman Heather McGee.
Milwaukee Tool is also working on a 215,000-square-foot building next door, which will be used for events and product testing. Foundation work is being finished, with the building to start coming out of the ground this spring. Milwaukee Tool anticipates occupancy in the first quarter of 2022.
Komatsu Mining Corp. continues to make progress on its $285 million headquarters and manufacturing campus in Milwaukee’s Harbor District. The site is located south of East Greenfield Avenue and west of the Kinnickinnic River.
Matt Beaudry, Komatsu project director and general manager, said vertical construction on the office building is now complete and in progress on the manufacturing building. It is still on track for completion in 2022. The campus is to have 170,000 square feet of office space, a 20,000-square-foot museum and training building and 410,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
Elsewhere in the Harbor District, work continues on Michels Corp.’s R1VER mixed-use development northwest of West Becher and South First streets. The project includes an eight-story office building, an apartment building with retail space and a parking structure. Future projects include a hotel and potentially another office building.
The parking structure was damaged following an explosion in December. By initial city estimates, damages totaled around $3 million. General contractor Gilbane Building Co. said in late December the damage was “generally isolated to a select area” of the parking structure and that construction work was proceeding.
Rite-Hite’s corporate headquarters project on Freshwater Way in Milwaukee’s Reed Street Yards is also moving forward. The project will consist of a 158,300-square-foot office building and 103,000-square-foot research and development building. Rite-Hite has said the project should finish by 2022, when it will move there from Brown Deer.
Suburban mixed-use projects
Among the projects happening in the suburbs are several major mixed-use redevelopments.
Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners Inc. plans to turn the former Olympia Resort on Royale Mile Road in Oconomowoc into apartments, a medical office building and several commercial buildings. Matt Moroney, president and chief operating officer of Wangard, said demolition of the vacant resort is slated to begin in March. Construction of the residential portion is slated to begin in the summer. Initial plans include 144 residential units spread across six buildings.
Milwaukee-based Cobalt Partners LLC will keep itself busy in 2021, with three major mixed-use projects of its own at various stages of development.
Last year, it demolished a former Allis Chalmers building on South 70th Street in West Allis as part of its Allis Yards project. Cobalt has so far renovated existing office buildings and opened a new event center in the development. It also plans to develop a hotel, offices, retail and potentially multi-family there.
Cobalt also announced in late 2020 a massive mixed-use project where I-894 meets Loomis Road in Greenfield. First up is a community ice arena, which is meant to complement the city’s planned resurrection of The Turf skatepark there. Other uses could include retail, office, medical, multi-family and a hotel.
Cobalt is also working on the Main Street Crossing project in Menomonee Falls, east of the Main Street interchange with I-41. Construction continues on a micro-hospital there. The former auto dealership site is being marketed as a 40-acre office project.
Milwaukee-based Mandel Group Inc. is set to move forward on the next phase of its mixed-use project along National Avenue and west of Six Points Crossing in West Allis. It has already developed medical offices and apartments north of National and now has plans to build another 110-unit apartment building and 32,500 square feet of food-based commercial buildings to the south.
Bob Monnat, Mandel senior partner, said the firm plans to begin construction on the residential portion of the project by the second quarter. This building will also feature 5,000 square feet of retail. Work on the commercial portion, called Makers Row, is expected to begin in the spring. Phase one of Makers Row will total 17,500 square feet, and phase two will be 15,000 square feet.