County Board Approves Negotiations for The Couture
Proposed 44-floor building for lakefront stays on track
The proposed 44-story The Couture lakefront hotel and apartment tower remains on track today following a vote by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to allow negotiations with Barrett Visionary Development. Brian Taffora, Director of Economic Development and controversial Cedarburg resident, is now authorized to negotiate a sale price for the Downtown Transit Center.
The move by the board in no way ends their involvement in the project, but does allow the project to move forward. If the ability to negotiate was not approved today, the next scheduled opportunity for approval would have come in mid-September following the August recess. The board will still need to approve the final sale of the land, as well as a relocation plan for the Milwaukee County Transit System buses that start and end their routes at the center.
In a related move that did draw debate, the board approved a change to the real estate sale process by a veto-safe 15-3 margin that would grant the board substantially more control in future land sale processes. The change would put the board in control over whether to use a more formal request-for-proposal (RFP) process or a request-for-information (RFI) process on proposed land sales. Supervisors Sanfelippo, Taylor, and Weishan voted in opposition to the change.
The Couture Approval Process
The process to approve the proposed 44-story The Couture hotel and apartment tower is predicted to be as follows.
Milwaukee County Board’s Committee on Economic and Community Development will need to approve negotiations with Barrett Visionary Development.Recommended for approval at a special meeting on July 23rd, 2012 The full Milwaukee County Board will either confirm the decision of the Economic and Community Development committee, or overrule the committees action.Approved by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors on July 26th, 2012.
- An agreement will need to be negotiated between the County and Barrett Visionary Development. This negotiations will be led by Director of Economic Development Brian Taffora who reports to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
- An agreement between the County and Barrett Visionary Development would need to be approved by the County Board.
- The site is expected to take 10 to 16 months to prepare. This includes relocating MCTS operations to an area near the Milwaukee Intermodal Station.
- Once Barrett Visionary Development has legal control of the site, the City of Milwaukee City Plan Commission (CPC) would likely see the proposal to recommend a zoning change.
- The City of Milwaukee Common Council Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee (ZND) would see the proposal after CPC to approve a Detailed Planned Development (DPD). The Public Works Committee may also need to review any public infrastructure changes to the area.
- The full Milwaukee Common Council would get to take up the proposed DPD after ZND. The Mayor would need then to sign off on the Council’s decision.
- Following all approvals, construction is estimated to take up to 28 months.
Past The Couture Coverage
- Better Connecting the Lakefront to Downtown (Downtown Transit Center) – August 15th, 2011 – Jeramey Jannene
- Eyes on Milwaukee (Downtown Transit Center Redevelopment Moving Along, Proposals Received) – May 3rd, 2012 – Jeramey Jannene
- 44-Floor Tower Proposed for Lakefront – July 11th, 2012 – Jeramey Jannene
- The Chatter: Abele vs County Board – Again – July 12th, 2012 – Bruce Murphy
- Photo Gallery: The Couture Press Conference – July 16th, 2012 – Jeramey Jannene
- County Threatened with Lakefront Lawsuit – July 24th, 2012 – Dave Reid