Next Stops For The Streetcar
The devil is in the details of tax incremental financing and various meetings and approvals needed before construction begins.
The Barrett administration announced the formation of one tax incremental financing district (or TID) and the extension of another to provide additional funding for the long-delayed streetcar.
Here is a look at what you can expect over the next few weeks as this train finally pulls out of the station more than three years after receiving Common Council approval.
The first stop for the streetcar TID will be a public special meeting of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, scheduled for Tuesday, December 2nd. RACM meetings are held at 1:30 p.m. in the first floor conference room of the Department of City Development at 809 N. Broadway. (note the December 2nd meeting is being held at 2:30 p.m.)
East Michigan Tax Incremental District #82
This 4.6 acre TID is comprised of two adjacent properties:
- 909 East Michigan Street (taxkey: 392-1678-121)
- 833 East Michigan Street (taxkey: 396-0491-000)
The 909 E. Michigan St. property is the currently tax-exempt parcel that houses the Milwaukee County Downtown Transit Center, an underutilized facility that is perhaps the most poorly sited such facility in the nation. This controversial site is currently owned by the county and is zoned “Park.”
Rick Barrett of Barrett Visionary Development plans to develop the site as the Couture, a “44-story mixed-use development comprised of approximately 302 market-rate apartments, approximately 49,835 square feet of retail and restaurants, and substantial public components,” according to the TID proposal. The Couture “will provide an integrated multimodal transit hub, publicly accessible plazas and publicly accessible natural indoor/outdoor spaces, pedestrian bridges and a new lakefront stop for the proposed streetcar line.”
The apartments will rent from $1,620 a month for a studio to $6,869 for a penthouse unit, or from $1.83 to $3.50 per square foot. Cash flow from the residential units will comprise 82 per cent of the project’s anticipated revenue.
The retail component of the project will provide 13 percent of the project revenue, with projected rents of $24 per square foot.
Upon completion, the Couture is expected to provide a $122-million increment to the existing assessed valuation of $0.
It will consist of 358,000 square-feet of rentable office space, valued at $74 million; a 6,000 square foot restaurant, valued at $840,000; and 450 parking spaces valued at $3.8 million. Total valuation of the project is expected to be $79 million. It is currently assessed at $5.4 million, yielding a $73.6 million increment for TID purposes.
TID 82 is expected to provide $48,650,000 in funds over its lifespan. These funds will be used to pay back bonds to be issued by the city. Of those funds:
- $31 million will be devoted to streetcar project costs
- $17.5 million will support “Couture Public Amenities” consisting of:
- Public Transportation Concourse $6,000,000
- Visitor Walkways $3,100,000
- Public Area Core/Common Space/Pedestrian & Bike
- Amenities $3,000,000
- Public Pedestrian Visitor Plaza $2,200,000
- Publicly Accessible Plazas and Natural Indoor/Outdoor
- Spaces $2,000,000
- Public Access Stairs to Walkways $1,200,000
- $150,000 will be spent on the repaving of N. Astor St. between E. State St. and E. Kilbourn Ave. The only building on that block is the Regency Condominium. Although that property is not within the TID district, it lies within a half-mile of the boundaries, which enables funds to be spent there according to state law. The city makes no mention of why this little project was incorporated into the TID.
In the event the Couture does not proceed, it has been determined that the 833 project will provide sufficient revenue to support $31.65 million in TID funding.
Erie / Jefferson Riverwalk TID #56 Amendment #3
The Erie / Jefferson Riverwalk TID #56 will be the second source of streetcar revenue to be considered by the RACM board at its December 2nd special meeting. It was established in 2004 to extend the riverwalk from N. Broadway to the harbor. At the time it was established, the Base Value of the district was $8,958,600. The 2014 Value of $122,294,800 has resulted in an Incremental Value of $113,336,200. This is some $6 million more than had been anticipated at its creation. The TID is scheduled to be retired in 2015, but approval by RACM will allow it to be extended to 2031.
Extension of TID #56 will allow for the following items:
- $18,300,000 Public Infrastructure – Milwaukee Streetcar
- $695,942 for a Riverwalk Extension for the Mandel Group’s planned Domus, an apartment building adjacent to the Marine Terminal Lofts.
- $540,000 for Public Improvements – N. Milwaukee Street & East Corcoran Avenue. (Let’s hope they don’t plan another bamboo garden.)
- $400,000 Cash Grant for business expansion or relocation. (The recipient of this largesse is not identified in the documents.) Jeff Fleming, Communications Director at City of Milwaukee, responded to an email about these funds writing, “The city is in active negotiations with a specific company regarding a corporate headquarters. At this stage, we are not revealing the name of the company. I do anticipate an announcement in the not-too-distant future when the discussions are final. “
Although TID #56 is not on the streetcar route, it lies within a half mile of it, and therefore is eligible to provide funds for the project.
1. Zoning Neighborhoods and Development Committee Public Hearing
After the RACM hearing, if the proposals are approved, the matter will come before the Zoning Neighborhoods and Development Commitee in a public hearing.
The Committee will meet at 9:00 A.M. in room 301-B of City Hall on Tuesday, December 9th. Aldermen Bob Bauman and Nik Kovac are on the panel, and are considered the foremost proponents of the streetcar on the council.
As Bauman tells Urban Milwaukee: “As a long time supporter of improved and expanded transit in general and urban rail specifically, I support the Mayor’s plan as I did 39 months ago when the council approved the plan on a 10-5 vote (July, 2011).”
If the committee approves the TID proposals, the matter will come before the Common Council.
2. Common Council Meeting
If the proposal is approved at the Zoning Neighborhoods and Development Committee hearing, it will then go before the full Common Council for approval.
The Council will meet at 9:00 A.M. in the Common Council Chambers of City Hall on Tuesday, December 16th.
3. Joint Review Board
Finally, the proposal will go before the Joint Review Board, consisting of city, county, MPS and MATC representatives along with a citizen member. After this formality is concluded, it will go to:
4. Mayor Signs
Mayor Barrett will sign the legislation, and the streetcar project will go forward.
Urban Milwaukee Streetcar Coverage
- Barrett Moving Forward with Streetcar – Jeramey Jannene – November 18th, 2014
- Who Will Be Streetcar Operator – Michael Horne – May 8th, 2014
- A Streetcar Named Cooperation? – Dave Reid – April 27th, 2014
- How a Streetcar Spurs Development – Angie Schmitt – November 3rd, 2013
- Streetcar Social – Michael Horne – September 12th, 2013
- Mayor Says Streetcar is a “Trojan Horse” – Michael Horne – April 17th, 2013
- Whoops, We Changed Our Mind – Dave Reid – September 27th, 2012
- Battle of the Bobs: Donovan vs Bauman Streetcar Press Conference – Jeramey Jannene – May 18th, 2012
- Important Hoan Bridge and Milwaukee Streetcar Meetings This Week – Dave Reid – November 14th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar Passes Common Council – Jeramey Jannene – July 26th, 2011
- Keep the Milwaukee Streetcar Moving Forward – Jeramey Jannene – July 8th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar at Apex – Jeramey Jannene – June 16th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar Takes Key Step Forward – Jeramey Jannene – May 6th, 2010
- Milwaukee Streetcar Meeting This Thursday – Jeramey Jannene – October 5th, 2009
- Milwaukee Streetcar Routes Unveiled by Mayor Barrett – Jeramey Jannene – September 21st, 2009
- Milwaukee Streetcar Round-Up – Jeramey Jannene – April 19th, 2009
- Vote for your Favorite Milwaukee Streetcar Route – Jeramey Jannene – March 25th, 2009
- Design Your Own Streetcar Route – Jeramey Jannene – March 23rd, 2009
- Streetcars Coming to Milwaukee – Dave Reid – March 14th, 2009
For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.
- Transportation: Feds Don’t Select Milwaukee For Streetcar Grant - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 11th, 2022
- Transportation: Art Campaign Highlights Milwaukee, New York Teens - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 1st, 2022
- Transportation: City Seeking Grant For Streetcar Convention Center Extension - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 15th, 2022
- The Hop Returns To Full Service - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 21st, 2022
- Transportation: Streetcar Service Goes From Bad To Worse - Jeramey Jannene - May 3rd, 2022
- Transportation: Should National Avenue Rebuild Include Plans for Streetcar? - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 8th, 2022
- Transportation: Maintenance Issues Reduce The Hop’s Schedule - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 4th, 2022
- Transportation: Congress Extends Streetcar Grant - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 16th, 2022
- City Needs Act of Congress Because of Couture-Streetcar Delay - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 1st, 2022
- Transportation: Streetcar Study Draws Controversy - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 27th, 2021
Read more about Milwaukee Streetcar here