By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 11, 2021 at 9:04 AM

You’d be forgiven for being skeptical after so many years of delays, but seven or so years after it was announced, The Couture development on Lincoln Memorial Drive is now officially underway.

Developer Rick Barrett was on hand Tuesday morning to welcome Findorff’s heavy equipment to the site between Clybourn and Michigan at the lakefront.


Barrett Lo Visionary Development closed on a $104.7 million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday, April 30, allowing work to move forward on the 44-story, $188 million tower.

The tower, designed by Milwaukee’s RINKA, will include 322 residential units and 42,837 square feet of retail space. It will stand 516 feet, 10 inches. The neighboring U.S. Bank building is 601 feet tall and the Northwestern Mutual tower is 550 feet tall.

Couture diggerX

It will also have plazas, parks, pedestrian bridges, a Hop streetcar stop and Milwaukee County Transit System bus rapid transit depot to the lakefront at Michigan, Clybourn and Lincoln Memorial Drive.

Barrett said Tuesday that an official groundbreaking ceremony with local dignitaries will take place in a few weeks.

A rendering of the Couture development. (PHOTO: RINKA)

Some work – including demolition of the transit center, reconstruction of a shared wall with 833 East, sewer design and engineering and soils evaluation – has already been completed and more underground work is about to commence.

On Monday, workmen could already be seen on the site undertaking some work.

Coming soonX

“Vertical” construction is expected to kick off in about six months, according to Barrett, and wrap up by autumn 2023.

Building the Couture is expected to create about 4,400 construction jobs and the completed development is estimated to bring 200 permanent jobs.


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.