Milwaukee County Board committee approves resolution on transit center redevelopment
Nick Montes reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
MILWAUKEE- A controversial downtown high rise is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The Milwaukee County Board's Economic & Community Development Committee voted to move the project forward on Monday. But, some county supervisors need more information.
The board's Economic & Community Development Committee unanimously gave support for a proposed $125 million, 44-story building called "The Couture." It would be built where Milwaukee's Downtown Transit Center sits.
"We're looking at a 10 to 16 month process to get us in the ground," developer Rick Barrett of Barrett Visionary Development says.
But, not everyone is happy about it. "I think it's a weak design," Gregory Bird, who opposes the project says.
Bird says the county should keep the 2.2 acre site to bring in more tax revenue. While opposition is strong, so are the challenges with the project, like the public trust and whether a private company can build on public land.
"It's a state (Department of Natural Resources) issue, but we'll definitely seek their input. We'll have to get a concrete answer on that, before we move forward," Milwaukee County Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic says.
The DNR is also looking into whether the property is on top of lakebed and can't be developed, something that could slow or stop the process. "We've been looking at the 2011 DNR report which obviously indicates that there is no lakebed on the site so we've been working on that premise," Barrett says.
The issue will be discussed at the Milwaukee County Supervisors Board meeting this Thursday.
After the Milwaukee County Board's Economic & Community Development Committee approved the resolution on Monday, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released a statement saying:
"I'm happy the members of the County Board agree with what I've been saying for weeks, that there is no reason to delay this process. We will work hard to get this deal done and get people to work."
The Journal Sentinel reports that a park group is challenging The Couture.