Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

The Couture Changes Financing Plan

Developer misses funding deadline, plans to apply again. Baird & Co. now working on the deal.

By - Jul 28th, 2019 09:21 pm
The Couture. Rendering by Rinka Chung Architecture.

The Couture. Rendering by RINKA.

Barrett Lo Visionary Development still needs more time to raise equity to fund the 44-story The Couture apartment tower.

Developer Rick Barrett did not submit a final financing package to secure a federal loan guarantee by a July 26th deadline, but still intends to use the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program to develop the apartment tower. The department had given Barrett two extensions after advancing the proposal in November.

The development, publicly estimated to cost $122 million, has had many twists and turns since it was first proposed in 2012 including legal challenges, a surprise sewer and the inclusion of a streetcar stop in its base.

Barrett said in May that the firm still needed to raise $15 million in equity to complete the deal. A source said the guarantee process increased the equity requirement on the deal substantially.

Barrett Lo is now working Robert W. Baird & Co. to raise money to support the deal.

“We look forward to working with them to advance this transformational project for Milwaukee’s lakefront,” said the developer in a statement. “As part of that process, we will voluntarily let the HUD application extension expire. Once we complete the capital stack, we will resubmit an application through HUD’s Direct-to-Firm Program, which provides for a shortened review timeframe.”

The news casts doubt over the ability of the streetcar stop to be included in the building. Due to a federal grant, the city has a December 31st, 2020 deadline to get The Hop’s lakefront extension operating.

City Engineer Samir Amin said the city would need to move onto Plan B if The Couture has not advanced by August 31st during a June Common Council meeting.

Construction Starts on Louis Bass Apartments

Construction on a rare combination of new construction and historic redevelopment is underway in Walker’s Point. Ann Pieper Eisenbrown is leading the conversion of a 128-year-old warehouse into apartments and adding a modern addition to its largely windowless southern facade along W. Florida St.

For more on the project, see our coverage from Friday.



Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Announces Move

The long-rumored sale of the historic Milwaukee Journal Sentinel complex at 333 W. State St. was confirmed Thursday in a report by the newspaper. The Gannett-owned publication and its 260 employees are expected to move to the twin towers of 330 Kilbourn in East Town.

See the paper’s new home and learn what could happen to its old one.

Jeffers and Janowiec Fire MAC General Contractor

The $70 million redevelopment of the 12-story Milwaukee Athletic Club building has hit a bump in the road, delaying the opening of the building.

The development partners, J. Jeffers & Co., Interstate Development Partners and Denver-based Sage Hospitality Group, are redeveloping the building at 758 N. Broadway into a new home for the private club as well as a 96-room hotel with first-floor restaurant. But they fired their Chicago-based general contractor Bulley & Andrews earlier this month. Learn why.

What’s Happening at Komatsu Site?

Komatsu Mining’s 60-acre, $285-million South Harbor Campus proposal for the east end of E. Greenfield Ave. is approved for development, but before that can start the site needs to be environmentally remediated.

We Energies is leading the $15.9 million remediation effort. Solvay Coke & Gas, which ceased operations on the site in 1983, had used the 46-acre site for the manufacture of coke, a fuel generated from burning coal in a specialized oven. Learn more.

Can’t wait for actual construction? Komatsu released new renderings to Urban Milwaukee.

Remediation Work

New Renderings

Earlier Renderings

Western Building Products Deal Approved

A proposal for millwork distributor Western Building Products to relocate to a far northwest site from Wauwatosa was approved by the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

“I do appreciate the neighbors coming out and sharing their testimony. It is important that we hear neighbors’ voices. It is important that they share their concerns,” said area Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd. “But this process has been manipulated.”

Dodd said Bruce Winters and another nearby property owner, the Adriansen family, were seeking to enrich themselves by killing the deal and attempting to increase the redevelopment of their land.

Learn more

A Sherman Park Success Story

Standing in front of a home just two-and-a-half blocks from where a 2016 civil disturbance occurred following a Milwaukee Police Department shooting, Mayor Tom Barrett celebrated the successful completion of a program targeted at creating jobs and rehabbing city-owned homes in Sherman Park.

The program, known as the Milwaukee Employment/Renovation Initiative (MERI), resulted in six developers completing 104 home renovations in the area while leveraging 33,000 hours of labor from underemployed or unemployed city residents as part of the Residents Preference Program (RPP) or other job-training programs.

See what the city plans to do next.

City Will Acquire Last Tower Automotive Site

The city, through the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM), is moving to acquire the last parcel owned by a Tower Automotive entity in Century City. RACM would acquire the 13.72-acre parcel at 3940 N. 35th St. for $250,000.

The site, long known for storage of auto body frames, is located along W. Capitol Dr., just west of the Canadian Pacific-owned railroad tracks and the recently-sold Century City I industrial building.

The city will unify the land with its other Century City holdings as part of an effort to redevelop the area. Learn how things are going.

Symphony Planning to Move Wall in August

The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee approved a $3 million funding increase to support the relocation of the rear theater wall at the Grand Warner Theatre and the rebuilding of N. 2nd St.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is planning to relocate the wall in mid-August to accommodate the conversion of the former movie theater to a music hall. To create a larger stage the wall will be slowly moved eastward 35 feet, as one piece, into N. 2nd St.

Learn why Alderman Robert Bauman criticized We Energies during the meeting.

City Planning W. Burleigh St. Charrette

Healthcare provider Ascension and the City of Milwaukee will each contribute $10,000 to support a UW-Milwaukee led design charrette intended to create a shared vision for the future of W. Burleigh St. A council committee approved the proposal on Tuesday.

UW-Milwaukee’s Community Design Solutions program, led by Carolyn Esswein, will direct the charrette. The visioning process will examine the corridor from N. Sherman Blvd. to N. 59th St. Ascension’s St. Joseph’s hospital is located in the middle of the study area.

The charrette will be the city’s 12th since 2013 said planning manager Vanessa Koster at a July 18th RACM hearing.

The Story of the Koeffler House

My colleague Michael Horne takes a deep dive into the history of the Yankee Hill double mansion slated for conversion to a boutique hotel. Did you know the building’s owner wanted to demolish it in 1985? Learn more.

The Yards Takes Shape

The shape of The Yards apartment building in Walker’s Point is now clearly visible. When completed in early 2020, the building will contain 87 apartments. The L-shaped building is being constructed on a long-vacant lot at 223 W. Oregon St.

The project is the second Milwaukee project for Linden Street Partners.

See the latest activity at the site.

Secretary Carson Touts New Housing Program

HUD Secretary Ben Carson visited Journey House on Friday morning to announce a new initiative targeting housing assistance for young people aging out of the foster care system. Why Journey House? The organization is a partner in the Clarke Square Apartments project that will include apartments set aside for young adults aging out of foster care.

Through the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, housing vouchers will be available for young adults who are about to or have recently left the foster care system.

Read or listen to the report from Wisconsin Public Radio.

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