Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Couture Seeks Commercial Tenants

44-story apartment tower will have 40,000 square left for a grocer, restaurants, medical office.

By - Dec 4th, 2017 12:12 pm
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The Couture as seen from the north. Rendering by Rinka Chung Architecture.

The Couture as seen from the north. Rendering by Rinka Chung Architecture.

A leasing flyer from the Mid-America Real Estate Group sheds new light on plans for the commercial space in The Couture. The proposed 44-story lakefront tower is approved to include over 300 high-end apartments on its upper floors, with the first three floors containing approximately 40,000 square-feet of commercial space and a transit center.

The flyer, which bills the development as “Milwaukee’s unparalleled mixed use development,” notes the project could contain two restaurants, a grocery store and a medical office. The tower is being developed by Barrett Lo Visionary Development. Design work on the tower is being led by frequent-Barrett collaborator Rinka Chung Architecture.

The proposed grocery store space totals 22,290 square feet and is split across the first and second floors. An additional 4,595 square feet of space is provided along the transit concourse for back-of-the-house functions. That’s far smaller than many suburban supermarkets, but in line with new urban grocers such as Fresh Thyme, which occupies just under 29,000 square feet in The North End. The flyer states that “60+” parking stalls in the attached 975-stall garage are reserved for the anchor tenant.

A medical office is envisioned for the second floor, just north of the grocery store. The space, which has the shape of the cylindrical tower, is listed at 8,104 square-feet.

The third-floor is being marketed as two separate restaurant spaces. The northern space would be directly above the medical office and contain 4,931 square feet of space and an outdoor patio oriented northeast. The southern restaurant space is listed at 4,840 square feet and features a wraparound outdoor patio oriented to the southeast.

For extensive details on the tower’s design, including a fourth-floor rooftop deck for residents, the first-floor streetcar and bus concourse, and potential second-floor pedestrian bridges, see my column from March.

The city will contribute $19.5 million to the project through a tax-incremental financing district, including $2 million for a previously unidentified sewer on the site. Department of Public Works Coordination Manager Karen Dettmer tells Urban Milwaukee the sewer will be re-layed as part of the foundation work on the structure.

The leasing flyer says that the project at 909 E. Michigan St. is scheduled for 2020. When the project was given final design approved in April, developer Rick Barrett said that a groundbreaking was likely for December 2017 and that tower would take 30 months to build.

His office did not return a request for comment by the time of publication and the city’s permitting website shows no pending permits for the project. Construction equipment from general contractor J.H. Findorff & Son has been on site for a number of months. Demolition of the Downtown Transit Center, which formerly occupied the site, was completed earlier this year.

New Renderings and Site Plans

Renderings Released for Design Approval

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More about the Couture

6 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Couture Seeks Commercial Tenants”

  1. Troll says:

    City has to kick in $20 million in aid to prime lakefront real estate and liberals want to moan about Foxconn. Better yet, the most expensive transportation per mile in Wisconsin history is being built downtown and it’s demand is so great that it’s free for the user.

  2. Sam says:

    Troll doesn’t understand TIFs.

  3. Uber says:

    Troll is pretty on point.

  4. Adam says:

    @Trolll
    “City has to kick in $20 million in aid to prime lakefront real estate and liberals want to moan about Foxconn”
    Corporate welfare is corporate welfare, I’ll give you that. But seems apples and oranges. Couture- $20 million back on property tax assessments. Foxconn- $3 billion dollars cash from the good citizens of WI. Not a tax break cause manufacturers don’t pay taxes any more due to earlier corporate welfare scheme cooked up by the GOPers.

    “Better yet, the most expensive transportation per mile in Wisconsin history is being built downtown and it’s demand is so great that it’s free for the user.”
    Any citation this is the most expensive mile in transportation history? How much do users of our transportation system called roads and freeways pay each time they use it?
    Thanks for playing!

  5. TRoll says:

    Adam, you must not own a combustion engine. A vehicular driver pays $130 dollars annually. For every gallon of gas a driver pays over 50 Cents a gallon to the Feds and the State. Also, that same driver pays to subsidize public transportation, bike lanes and crappy art along Freeway walls.

  6. Adam says:

    @Troll-

    I do own an internal combustion engine. Our family has two in fact, as is the case with most advocates of having more transportation options than just cars. As you probably know, registration fees and gas taxes do not cover the cost of maintaining and building our road networks. The rest is made up for through property and income taxes. And again most people that like bike networks and mass transit also own houses and have jobs, so we all pay our fair share.
    The free streetcar rides will be for a limited time to reintroduce the city to rail. Hopefully the city is able to expand the network past this starter line to a real rail network where they certainly will be charging a fee to ride.

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