The Moderne likely to break ground in October

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Friday gave final approval for a $42 million loan guarantee for The Moderne, a 30-story building that will be built at the southwest corner of Juneau Avenue and Old World Third Street in the Park East corridor in downtown Milwaukee. A HUD spokesperson confirmed that the loan guarantee was approved.
It will take about 5 to 6 weeks to complete the final closing of the financing for the project, so construction will probably begin in October said Rick Barrett, the developer for The Moderne. It will take about two years to construct the building.
The $55 million building will have 203 apartments, 14 condominiums and first floor retail space.
The $42 million loan for the project is from the AFL-CIO Investment Trust and will be guaranteed by HUD’s 221(d)4 program. The project also received a $9.3 million loan from the City of Milwaukee, which was approved last year.
The approval process for the HUD loan guarantee dragged on for months. The capital markets for real estate development are extremely tight, so HUD has been swamped by developers seeking financing assistance. As a result, the approval for The Moderne’s loan guarantee was delayed. Previously, Barrett had hoped to break ground in February.
“Everybody has been sitting on pins and needles,” Barrett said. “We’re ready to build this thing. I’m just really, really excited and honored to be working with such great partners, including the city of Milwaukee.”
J.H. Findorff & Son Inc. is the general contractor for the project. The architect is Milwaukee-based Rinka Chung Architecture Inc.
Although HUD’s support for the project has been criticized by some, it will provide a major investment into the Milwaukee economy said Rinka Chung principal Matt Rinka.
“$42 million is going to be spent somewhere by HUD, not necessarily in Wisconsin,” Rinka said. “It could have been going to Chicago. Who knows? (If the project died it would have meant) $55 million wouldn’t be spent in Milwaukee.”

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