The Couture Completion Delayed Until End of 2023
But tower crane installed and pile driving progressing.
Construction work is progressing on The Couture, a 44-story, 322-unit apartment building that will be the tallest residential building in Wisconsin when completed. But it’s not moving at the speed it was originally planned, and that is now imperiling another project.
“We are planning to be done right about the end of 2023,” said J.H. Findorff & Son senior project manager Eric Sadler during a tour of the site Thursday morning.
And while losing a few months might not seem like a big deal for a $190 million project that was first proposed in 2012, it’s jeopardizing the financing of another project.
The lakefront extension of The Hop streetcar system, which has sat partially completed since 2018, must wait for the shell of the transit concourse at the base of the tower to be completed. It was, after years of delay, supposed to begin service by June 30 as part of a financing agreement with The Couture developer Barrett Lo Visionary Development.
The streetcar line relies on a $14.2 million federal grant, for which $1.41 million is still unexpended. The grant program, created in 2015, expires on Sep. 30 and leaked emails reveal that city officials are now working on an act of Congress to bail out the repeatedly-delayed project. Barrett Lo partners Rick Barrett and Tan Lo have a personal guarantee on the unspent grant funds, but not the entire grant.
The Couture project officials haven’t said when they expect the transit concourse to be complete.
The project manager said construction workers have found many surprises buried in the soil, including old bottles, tools and timbers from an old breakwater. But didn’t say what caused the delay.
“I think there are a lot of things that play into it,” said Sadler. “Just challenges that come up. I don’t think there is one thing that is driving it.”
What are those challenges?
“I don’t want to get into it, sorry,” said Sadler.
Barrett was not at the tour, but a communications firm representing the developer reissued the same statement the developer issued Tuesday.
As is expected with a major construction project on a two-acre downtown site, there have been a few unforeseen conditions encountered while working below grade,” said Barrett. “In particular, we found two major discoveries that were not on the survey: more than 50 piles which needed to be identified and removed, and a major We Energies transformer serving downtown which needed to be designed around. These challenges were addressed and construction is advancing.”
Regardless of why things are late, things are moving forward.
That crane, operated by Craig Glover for Findorff, will eventually climb to 621 feet. The building itself is planned to reach just under 517 feet. A smaller crane is planned to be installed on the west side of the site in April.
Limited concrete work has taken place, in part to allow the pile driving to be completed, but is expected to ramp up as the pile driving is finished.
There are about 25 workers on the site daily, Sadler said, and that figure will rise into the hundreds as the tower begins to rise later this summer.
The transit concourse, which will serve the East-West Bus Rapid Transit line in addition to the streetcar, will also include approximately 45,000 square feet of commercial space.
The city is providing $19.5 million for public infrastructure costs related to the project, 909 E. Michigan St., via a tax incremental financing district.
Barrett Lo acquired the property, and the former Downtown Transit Center, from Milwaukee County for $500,000. If a public transit use is not maintained in the property, the county would need to pay $6.7 million to the Federal Transit Administration for the removal of the former bus layover facility.
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More about the Couture
- Eyes on Milwaukee: See Inside The Couture’s Rise - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 9th, 2023
- Transportation: Congress Extends Streetcar Grant - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 16th, 2022
- Eyes on Milwaukee: The Couture Starts Massive Concrete Pour - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 16th, 2022
- City Hall: Council Could End Fight Over Couture Provision - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 22nd, 2022
- Eyes on Milwaukee: The Couture Completion Delayed Until End of 2023 - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 3rd, 2022
- City Needs Act of Congress Because of Couture-Streetcar Delay - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 1st, 2022
- Eyes on Milwaukee: The Couture Is Making Noise Downtown - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 22nd, 2021
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Barrett, Officials Celebrate Couture Groundbreaking - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 16th, 2021
- City Hall: City Could Spend $100,000 To Argue Over $100,000 - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 8th, 2021
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Construction Starts on The Couture - Jeramey Jannene - May 11th, 2021
Read more about Couture here
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4 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: The Couture Completion Delayed Until End of 2023”
I can understand unexpectedly discovering the antiquarian detritus, but how could they NOT know about the active WE Energy equipment?
What a fishy deal. Is this Milwaukee’s FoxConned?
We’re starting to see an epidemic of large buildings in the U.S. that are on the verge of collapsing due to weak, sub-standard foundations. Cutting corners or doing sub-standard work on the Couture in order to reach deadlines would be a bad idea. It would be a shame to see the Couture become another Leaning Tower of Pisa like the 58 story Millennium Tower in San Francisco.
San Francisco’s Millennium Tower Is Tilting and Sinking. Here’s What Went Wrong… https://interestingengineering.com/video/san-franciscos-millennium-tower-is-tilting-and-sinking-what-went-wrong
More surprises and delays for Barrett and the Couture?