The Moderne Breaks Ground in Milwaukee

Milwaukee--Barrett Visionary Development broke ground this week on the Moderne, a mixed-use, 30-story tower in downtown Milwaukee.

Milwaukee's Mayor Tom Barrett and Moderne Developer Rick Barrett toast to the ground-breaking.

Milwaukee–Barrett Visionary Development broke ground this week on the Moderne, a mixed-use project in the Park East Corridor area near the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee. The property will include 203 market-rate, one- to three-bedroom rental units on the first 27 floors of the new 30-story tower, which will be a 21st-century interpretation by Rinka Chung Architecture Inc. of the early 20th-century Art Moderne style.

The Moderne will offer 14 for-sale, one- to three-bedroom condo units located on floors 28 through 30. The development will also include about 7,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial and retail space, as well as above-grade parking.

The project is primarily funded through a $42.4 million loan guaranty by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is backing loans by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) and other investors processed through Berkadia Commercial Mortgage. Additional funding for the project includes a $9.3 million loan from the City of Milwaukee and more than $5 million in private developer equity, with the condos financed separately by a loan from the City of Milwaukee.

Milwaukee-based Barrett Visionary Development, headed by Rick Barrett, specializes in mixed-use developments in urban locations. Other Barrett developments with multifamily residential components include the River Homes at Beerline, Rivercourt Homes and Park Terrace, all in Milwaukee.

The Moderne, which will be built with all-union labor, represents the HIT’s largest commitment thus far in Wisconsin. The labor-backed investment company has helped finance over a dozen projects in the state, representing almost $1 billion in development activity and creating more than 1,300 units of housing.

“The Moderne provides an attractive investment for the HIT at this time,” Terrance Pearson, director of FHA Finance at the HIT, tells MHN. “The Ginnie Mae securities purchased by the HIT should produce a competitive return for our portfolio, and the investment is U.S. government guaranteed. The investment, which will serve as a catalyst for Milwaukee’s downtown redevelopment, should also help to curb the high unemployment rate in Milwaukee’s construction trades.”

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