Couture’s latest delay will be resolved with construction start imminent
The last delay in the Couture apartment tower, the start of construction is apparently being resolved – this process moving forward on Tuesday.
And it will bring an imminent breakthrough to the downtown Milwaukee site overlooking Lake Michigan, according to the developers.
The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee voted 5-0 on Tuesday to change the city’s contract with Couture developer Barrett Lo Visionary Development LLC.
The change, which the full council will consider at its March 2 meeting, requires Barrett Lo owners Richard Barrett and Tan Lo to personally guarantee a $ 1.4 million payment to the city if the transit center in Couture’s ground level is not completed by June 2022.
The 44-story, 322-unit Couture was scheduled to complete its financial package on January 29 and begin construction on February 1 under development agreements with the City and County of Milwaukee.
These contracts were revised to include new deadlines after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development agreed in November to secure a $ 103.5 million loan to build the Couture.
This loan from JLL Real Estate Capital, combined with equity financing raised from outside investors, got the $ 188 million project going.
But Barrett Lo missed those deadlines due to the city’s potential liability to reimburse the federal government $ 1.4 million.
This amount was not spent on a $ 14.8 million federal grant used to build the lakefront loop for The Hop Streetcar.
The Couture, at 909 E. Michigan St., will feature a transit hall featuring The Hop, connecting its parallel lanes on Michigan and Clybourn streets.
The Federal Transit Administration grant requires the city to finish spending the money by July 31, 2022. But $ 1.4 million for the transit hall has still not been spent.
And that raises the possibility that the city will be forced to repay that amount if the money is not spent by the grant deadline.
Officials with the city’s Development Department initially wanted external investors in Couture’s shares to cover potential liability.
But these investors shied away from this, which led Barrett and Lo to provide the collateral instead.
Barrett and Lo will also provide $ 100,000 to the MKE United Anti-Displacement Fund under an amendment to the agreement proposed by Ald. Robert Bauman.
It was not immediately determined on Tuesday when the start of construction on Couture will take place.
However, Barrett has indicated that he wants to start construction as soon as possible after the approval of the revised development agreement, which is expected, from council and Mayor Tom Barrett.
La Couture is due to start opening apartments around May 2023, with completion in August 2023.