County Executive Chris Abele
Press Release

Defining Lakefront Vision Moves Forward

Sale of Couture Development Approved

By - Dec 18th, 2014 04:02 pm
The Couture

The Couture

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors approved County Executive Chris Abele’s Lakefront development proposal today that will have a long-lasting impact on Milwaukee County: the development of the $122 million Couture high-rise. The County Executive thanks the County Board for their approval and hopes they will continue to be willing to work with him on future projects that will improve Milwaukee County.

“This project is truly historic and I’m grateful to the County Board Supervisors who voted to support this plan. The Couture project will change the skyline of Milwaukee, while also putting thousands of people to work and greatly improving the public’s access to our Lakefront,” County Executive Abele said.

The recommendation of the Couture project to the Board came after careful analysis of all options that would further economic development in Milwaukee County, improve the County’s fiscal situation, as well as improve County core services.

“For the past 4 years we’ve been making significant progress towards a better Milwaukee County and this project is a big step in the right direction,” County Executive Abele added. “We must, and will continue to look for strong partnerships like this.”

Specifics about the Project

Once it’s built, the 44-story, $122 million Couture will be one of the tallest buildings in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called the building, “an instant landmark, the kind of project that could reshape Milwaukee’s sense of itself”. Located in the heart of downtown, this site currently holds an underutilized transit garage. The project will create thousands of temporary and permanent jobs and put millions of dollars back onto the tax rolls. Once completed, this development will provide:

  • 81,560 square feet of public space
    • Rooftop park, public transportation concourse, streetcar stop, walkway to lakefront, bike sharing station, public parking and public plaza
  • $17.5 million in other public improvements
  • $68 million in property tax revenue over 30 years, compared to $0 currently
  • 2,074 construction related jobs
  • 150 permanent jobs

Protecting and Improving Parks and County Assets

Since taking office in 2011, County Executive Abele has increased park land across the County by nearly 150 acres while at the same time tackling long ignored deferred maintenance issues at parks countywide. In the 2015 Budget alone, he added more than $19 million in repairs and maintenance in the Parks, Cultural and Recreation Budget.

In his first four budgets, County Executive Abele has invested $309 million in County capital projects, including $65.2 million in cash financing.  The cash financing plan for the first four budgets is about $20.3M above the County’s stated goal of financing 20% of projects with cash.  County Executive Abele has also focused on turning off the County’s debt faucets but selling unneeded and underused properties that are expensive to maintain like the Transit Center and City Campus.

By continuing to expand County Executive Abele’s plan of using cash financing and consolidating county facilities, the County is able to put more money into deferred maintenance at parks and other properties without incurring more long-term debt, a practice County Executive Abele plans to continue to pursue.


Mentioned in This Press Release

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6 thoughts on “Defining Lakefront Vision Moves Forward”

  1. Bill says:

    Are there any updates on the road plans for the lakefront?

  2. Rory Bellows says:

    I’m surprised the Urban Milwaukee crowd is so gung ho on these tower projects. This is standard Garden City development and I suspect it will have no effect on life on the ground.

  3. Edwin Thaves says:

    This is little more than taxpayer subsidized housing for wanna be one-percenters built on public land. An “instant landmark” it’s not– it’s an uninspired painted concrete and glass building that looks like everything else built in the city the past few years.

  4. Tim says:

    You see Garden City towers in a park, I see towers fronting Central Park. At the core of it, you’re defending a windowless concrete box that houses diesel buses on Milwaukee’s front door. Is your goal to sabotage Milwaukee or is it just bad sarcasm?

    I see a lot of thoughtless tearing down of this proposal and it’s lazy, toss out your “better” ideas.

    I want to see this beautiful project rise up. It’s designed to make the Lakefront more accessible to everyone. Bringing residents to the area and literally bridging between a corporate office dead zone and our own beautiful inland ocean. I don’t care that I can’t afford to live there, I’m happy enough that this will improve the area, be nice to look at, will provide many jobs to build, and will provide about as much property tax per year as it costs to run a library.

  5. Rory Bellows says:

    How does a skyscraper make an area accessible? Tim explicitly states that he will have no reason to make use of this structure. But it will be nice to look at while he’s driving down the freeway.

    I’ll bet dollars to donuts that ground level will remain a dead zone because this development is of no interest to anybody except the handful of people who live and work there.

  6. Tim says:

    Look at the transit portion of the development and literally the bridge to be built across Lincoln Memorial Drive before spouting off.

    So tell me, who finds the windowless concrete bus warehouse interesting? No one. Were you behind the awful public art in many Milwaukee County parks… Cheering loudly for a big red steel beam to grace Lincoln Park or a garbage sculpture to enliven Gordon Park?

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