New Couture development agreement has new deadlines for construction work, streetcar operation

Project also to have $67.3 million minimum assessed value by 2041

View from N Lincoln Memorial Drive and E Michigan St. Rendering: Rinka
Rendering of The Couture from North Lincoln Memorial Drive and East Michigan Street.

Last updated on December 3rd, 2020 at 12:59 pm

A modified development agreement between the city of Milwaukee and the developer of The Couture sets new deadlines for the $188 million project, including that construction would begin no later than Feb. 1.

The agreement also requires construction of the 44-story tower and related public infrastructure to finish no later than 42 months after work commences. The public transportation concourse that’s part of The Couture project also needs to be functional by the end of June 2022, so the city can have the streetcar’s lakefront line in operation by that time.

The city has a development agreement in place with The Couture developer, Milwaukee-based Barrett Lo Visionary Development, because the city is contributing up to $50.5 million through tax incremental financing. The agreement is being updated now that the long-delayed project appears back on track after recently being awarded a $103.5 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A public transportation concourse has always been a vital component of the project. It is meant to serve both the streetcar and Milwaukee County’s planned bus rapid-transit line.

According to the amended agreement, the city has until July 31, 2022 to get the streetcar line extension operating in order to receive a federal grant.

The Couture is being built on the site of a former Milwaukee County transit center. As such, the site is required to offer transit amenities or the county would have to pay back a $6.7 million grant of its own.

The Couture will include approximately 300 market-rate apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 900 parking spaces and the transportation concourse.

There will also be roughly 30,000 square feet of publicly accessible indoor and outdoor natural spaces on the property, which will be made available to serve downtown office employees, residents and the general public.

It may also contain a network of skywalks linking The Couture to O’Donnell Park to the north, the Lake Michigan lakefront to the east, land to the south slated for development that’s known as the Lakefront Gateway site, and the 833 East Michigan office building to the west.

The city TIF contribution will pay for the following: A $17.5 million public infrastructure project, which includes the transportation concourse, streetcar structural support and natural spaces; $31 million for construction of the lakefront line; and $2 million for relocation of a sewer main and other infrastructure work.

According to the amended agreement, The Couture property should increase in assessed value by nearly $66.2 million in assessed value over 20 years.

The agreement shows the property will have a minimum assessed value of roughly $1.1 million next year. The assessed value is to begin increasing by 2023 each year thereafter, until it reaches approximately $67.3 million in 2041.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

No posts to display