Fund-raising for $30 million Lakefront Gateway Plaza will begin later this year

DCD commissioner gives update

The city of Milwaukee will put together a fund-raising committee later this year for the $30 million Lakefront Gateway Plaza with the hopes of launching the project when The Couture is under construction.

Rendering of the Lakefront Gateway Plaza by Rinka Chung Architecture. 

After much fanfare, including a competition between 24 groups from across the country, Milwaukee-based engineering firm Graef was selected in 2015 with the winning design for the Lakefront Gateway Plaza.

The Plaza is planned for a 1.5-acre site between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Summerfest grounds. The plaza will be bounded by Michigan Street, Lincoln Memorial Drive, Art Museum Drive and Clybourn Boulevard.

The vision for the project is to create a “world class” plaza that improves the connection between the downtown central business district and the lakefront.

In 2016, a fundraising campaign was announced, but very little has been mentioned since.

On Tuesday, Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of City Development, gave an update to the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on the project and other development proposals.

Rendering by Rinka Chung Architecture

“We see this as a private endeavor and will be asking for help from the Greater Milwaukee Committee,” Marcoux said. “It will be nice to see that bridge go in at the same time as The Couture is coming out of the ground.”

Construction of The Couture, a 44-story luxury apartment tower planned at the lakefront, has not begun yet because Barrett Lo Visionary Development is still trying to obtain financing for the project, which at one time was estimated to cost $120 million. The development firm is seeking a loan guarantee for the project by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) insurance plan.

Rick Barrett, the owner of Barrett Lo, issued a written statement in late March saying construction of The Couture is now expected to start “later this summer.”

Lakefront Gateway will have to compete with several other high-profile downtown projects that have launched fund-raising campaigns including the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Other projects discussed by Marcoux and the ZND committee included The Marcus Corp.’s plans for land the company owns northwest of North Water Street and East Knapp Street. In June 2016, plans surfaced on a Baltimore-based architectural firm’s website depicting “Edison Place,” a mixed-use development for the site that included an eight-screen cinema.

Marcoux said Marcus has not come to the city with a new proposal.

“It is accurate to say they are still interested in the site,” Marcoux said, before explaining how difficult it is to develop the property because of the river and how narrow the piece of land is.

Marcoux also told the committee that Chris Houden, with Palisade Properties Management LLC., plans to break ground on the 28-story Goll Mansion apartment tower project at 1550 N. Prospect Ave. in August.

The city of Milwaukee will put together a fund-raising committee later this year for the $30 million Lakefront Gateway Plaza with the hopes of launching the project when The Couture is under construction.

Rendering of the Lakefront Gateway Plaza by Rinka Chung Architecture. 

After much fanfare, including a competition between 24 groups from across the country, Milwaukee-based engineering firm Graef was selected in 2015 with the winning design for the Lakefront Gateway Plaza.

The Plaza is planned for a 1.5-acre site between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Summerfest grounds. The plaza will be bounded by Michigan Street, Lincoln Memorial Drive, Art Museum Drive and Clybourn Boulevard.

The vision for the project is to create a “world class” plaza that improves the connection between the downtown central business district and the lakefront.

In 2016, a fundraising campaign was announced, but very little has been mentioned since.

On Tuesday, Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of City Development, gave an update to the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on the project and other development proposals.

Rendering by Rinka Chung Architecture

“We see this as a private endeavor and will be asking for help from the Greater Milwaukee Committee,” Marcoux said. “It will be nice to see that bridge go in at the same time as The Couture is coming out of the ground.”

Construction of The Couture, a 44-story luxury apartment tower planned at the lakefront, has not begun yet because Barrett Lo Visionary Development is still trying to obtain financing for the project, which at one time was estimated to cost $120 million. The development firm is seeking a loan guarantee for the project by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) insurance plan.

Rick Barrett, the owner of Barrett Lo, issued a written statement in late March saying construction of The Couture is now expected to start “later this summer.”

Lakefront Gateway will have to compete with several other high-profile downtown projects that have launched fund-raising campaigns including the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Other projects discussed by Marcoux and the ZND committee included The Marcus Corp.’s plans for land the company owns northwest of North Water Street and East Knapp Street. In June 2016, plans surfaced on a Baltimore-based architectural firm’s website depicting “Edison Place,” a mixed-use development for the site that included an eight-screen cinema.

Marcoux said Marcus has not come to the city with a new proposal.

“It is accurate to say they are still interested in the site,” Marcoux said, before explaining how difficult it is to develop the property because of the river and how narrow the piece of land is.

Marcoux also told the committee that Chris Houden, with Palisade Properties Management LLC., plans to break ground on the 28-story Goll Mansion apartment tower project at 1550 N. Prospect Ave. in August.

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