Milwaukee’s delayed Couture skyscraper takes another step forward
The long-delayed Couture Apartment Tower on the lakefront of downtown Milwaukee takes another step forward.
Barrett Lo Visionary Development LLC’s application for a loan guarantee from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has been submitted, a spokesperson for the agency said on Tuesday evening.
It comes just over two months after Barrett Lo declared having obtained funding from investors and would ask for a loan guarantee again – setting the stage for construction to begin.
Once the HUD has reviewed the application and found it acceptable for review, the regional office has 60 days to review it, send it to the agency’s national loan committee, and then issue a firm commitment or rejection. said Gina Rodriguez, HUD public affairs specialist.
HUD had invited Barrett Lo to research what the agency calls a “firm demand” for collateral. This movement generally leads to the approval of the guarantee.
The agency issued its first invitation in October 2018. But Barrett Lo did not submit the application before the July 2019 deadline.
This happened after a stock investor Barrett Lo had hoped to land decided not to invest in the project.
The company then hired Baird & Co. to help it find investors.
On June 26, Barrett Lo announced that it had planned for equity financing and would be submitting a new loan guarantee application to HUD.
The 44-story Couture, 909 E. Michigan St., will feature 322 upscale apartments, 52,000 square feet of food and retail space, and a transit hall with the downtown streetcar, known as the name of The Hop.
The Couture delay affected the completion of The Hop’s lakeside loop.
The city is committing $ 17.5 million to pay for public improvements to Couture, including a transit hall for The Hop and bus lines.
This hall is required to complete the Lakefront Streetcar loop by connecting parallel tracks on Michigan Street and Clybourn Street.
Barrett unveiled the Couture proposal in 2012, with Chris Abele, then county manager, recommending the apartment tower to competing office and mixed-use proposals.
Delays in the project included a change in state law in 2014 and a court battle in 2015 over allegations the development site included a filled lake bed – possibly violating the public trust doctrine of the Constitution of Wisconsin.
County Council and Abele in 2014 approved the sale of the 2.2-acre Couture site for $ 500,000. A county consultant said a reduced price was needed to make the development feasible.
Under a 2016 development agreement, a subsidiary of Barrett Lo, Couture LLC, was given a deadline to begin construction – which has long since passed.
The development company then finalized the purchase of the site and in January 2017 demolished an old county bus facility there.