Milwaukee County closes on sale of Downtown Transit Center, clears way for Couture project

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Couture project proposed for Milwaukee's lakefront

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced on Tuesday, August 30th that the county closed on the sale of the Downtown Transit Center to developer Rick Barrett. It is considered the final hurdle in moving forward on the Couture project.

The Couture is planned as a 44-story high-rise building, $122 million mixed-use development project.

In a news release issued by Abele’s office, the county executive said the following:

“Getting big, complicated things done takes time, leadership, and perseverance, but when we overcome these challenges the payoff is huge. Instead of an underutilized transit center on our lakefront, Milwaukee will now have at the Couture a national model for transit-oriented development, connecting people with jobs and opportunities all over the county.”

The Couture is expected to be a key part of the Lakefront Gateway project. Plans call for it to have a transportation hub incorporating pedestrian walkways and bridges, traditional county buses, Milwaukee County’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit line, bikes and the streetcar.

Couture project proposed for Milwaukee's lakefront

Couture project proposed for Milwaukee’s lakefront

The Graef team highlighted several important themes in its presentations including flowing water, complementing the neighboring uses and activities, and attracting people to the plaza. The plaza site is between Michigan Street and Clybourn Street, east of Lincoln Memorial Drive. The land currently is a lawn bisected by Harbor Drive that folks attending Maier Festival Park merely walk past.

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

The Lakefront Plaza will be designed by a team with several local companies led by Graef. That decision was announced in October 2015. The Graef team is based in Milwaukee and includes PFS Studio of Vancouver, British Columbia, Rinka│Chung of Milwaukee, Dan Euser WaterArchitecture of Richmond Hill, Ontario, and locally-based NEWaukee.

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)


  • confused

    How about a couple of dedicated buses that run every 1/2 hour 24/7 into the inner city of Milwaukee from these new structures to get inner city employees to work at these new structures? office staff, janitors, cleaning staff, interns, etc. Whatever position they could do.Then they’d have jobs and a way to get there. Then you get the workers off welfare and the $ saved from welfare could cover the transportation costs. Perhaps if there were jobs there’d be pride and others would want to get jobs and get off welfare too. No more far fetched then this Couture project. Maybe 40% of the employees could be from the inner city.

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