Construction on Major Milwaukee Multifamily Project to Begin

2 min read

Milwaukee, Wis.--The Moderne, a new construction apartment/condo highrise in downtown Milwaukee, has received final approval of a federal loan guarantee to finance the project, meaning that construction will start soon. The developer, Rick Barrett (Barrett Visionary), hasn't specified a groundbreaking date yet, however.

Milwaukee, Wis.–The Moderne, a new construction apartment/condo highrise in downtown Milwaukee, has received final approval of a federal loan guarantee to finance the project, meaning that construction will start soon. The developer, Rick Barrett (Barrett Visionary), hasn’t specified a groundbreaking date yet, however.

One it begins, the Moderne will be one of the largest developments–203 apartments, 14 condo units and 204 parking spaces–underway in greater Milwaukee. It will also include 7,230 of first-floor retail at the corner of Old World Third St. and Juneau Ave., a busy downtown area near the Milwaukee Riverwalk.

The project has been quite a while in gestation, and illustrates some of the difficulties in getting a multifamily development out of the ground in the current economy. The city of Milwaukee approved $9.3 million in loans to help finance the development almost a year ago, which itself involved considerable commitments on the part of the developer.

To facilitate approval of loans by the city, the developer agreed to include a 25 percent level of Emerging Business Enterprises program (that is, small business) participation, and a 30 percent level of Residential Preferred Preference program participation, meaning the percentage of unemployed or underemployed Milwaukee residents that must be employed to build the project. Barrett and his partners also had to put in $4.35 million in equity.

Still, the loans from the city were contingent on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guaranteeing a $41.1 million loan from Capmark Financial Group Inc. and the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust. That approval had been expected by February 2010, but didn’t happen until late August, apparently because of a crush of applications at HUD.

The structure, designed by Milwaukee-based Rinka-Chung Architecture Inc., will top out at 30 stories. The planned average sale price for the condo units will be $939,000, and the apartments will probably fetch a little less than $2 per square foot, according to the developer.

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