Stuff That’s Done (in Milwaukee): 7SEVENTY7

7SEVENTY7 in downtown Milwaukee.

This is the third and final entry on this blog dedicated to 7SEVENTY7, a residential tower in Milwaukee that went from a hole in the ground on my first visit, to work-in-progress construction site on my second go ’round in 2017, to a finished apartment building when I walked by early in June 2021.

Northwestern Mutual teamed up with Hines to get 7SEVENTY7 built. The Solomon Cordwell Buenz design was built by C.D. Smith Construction.

Milwaukee’s tallest residential tower upon its completion in 2018, it delivered 310 units atop a 10-story parking garage. That parking garage, boasting 1,400 spaces, might seem like a lot, but 7SEVENTY7 compliments Northwestern Mutual’s also-recently-completed office tower a block away; these parking spaces are meant to be shared with that office building and the apartments’ attached retail space.

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Stuff That’s Done (In Milwaukee): The Milwaukee Bucks’ new home, Fiserv Forum

Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee

Look, I’m not posting this now in the hopes of scoring free Playoff tickets. Honest, I’m not. That I hadn’t been in Milwaukee in four years is purely coincidental. But anyway, good job by the Bucks in Game 3 after looking like they might be future venison steaks on the roof rack of a station wagon after that Game 2 horror.

Fiserv Forum was called the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center when I last stopped by, in July 2017.

Fiserv Forum is a design by Populous, the Kansas City-based architecture firm known in Chicago for its work on Guaranteed Rate Field and the United Center. They were assisted in the design work by Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB Corporation. The M.A. Mortenson Company was the general contractor.

The Forum opened in August 2018. It’s predecessor, the Bradley Center, was demolished soon after. That site remains empty now, but I doubt it’ll remain that way for long.

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Site prep is underway for The Couture on Milwaukee’s lakefront

Rendering of The Couture from Rinka Chung Architecture.

Four years ago when I last visited Milwaukee, it looked like The Couture was a good bet to be the next tower crane along Lake Michigan.

I was wrong. For the most part. Luckily I didn’t have any money on it.

There’s still no tower crane, but site prep for The Couture has begun, as crews rip out the remnants of the concrete slab that once supported the Milwaukee Transit Center, and get the site ready for foundation work.

The Couture will be a 44-story tower at Clybourn Street, Lincoln Memorial Drive, and Michigan Street. The prime site will offer sweeping views of the lake, the stellar Milwaukee Art Museum, and the annual home of Summerfest, Henry Maier Festival Park.

Early info on The Couture had it including up to 600 units (residents? residences? hmm). Recent features, including this one from Urban Milwaukee, show a much lower number, with 322 apartments and 40,000 square feet of commercial space.

Barrett Lo Visionary Development is The Couture’s developer; Rinka Chung Architecture is the design architect. (They’re hiring! See the website for more info, plus animated renderings.) J.H. Findorff & Son is the general contractor.

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I found one Milwaukee tower crane, and it’s building the mass timber-framed Ascent

The world’s tallest mass timber frame building is under construction in Milwaukee. That’s far more unique than having the only tower crane (that I could find) in the city, and it’s a big deal.

Ascent is one of the latest projects from Milwaukee developer New Land Enterprises. They’re putting up this 25-story, 284-foot-tall apartment tower at North Van Buren Street and East Kilbourn Avenue in the city’s New Town neighborhood. (That’s right. If you’re looking for Chicago-style pizza in Milwaukee, Edwardo’s is no longer here.) When completed next year, Ascent will deliver 259 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.

The Milwaukee firm of Korb + Associates is the design architect. Check out their website for a bunch of great renderings.

Catalyst Construction and C.D. Smith Construction are on the build.

And now, photos from June 2021:

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Stay tuned, Milwaukee fans

My single tower crane sighting, at Ascent.

Sorry, folks. I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut the past few weeks. It was bound to happen with the development slow-down we’ve seen. When this blog was *really rolling, back in 2017, we had a total of 62 tower cranes around Chicago. Now, with just 12 at the moment, it’s difficult to provide some variety. There just isn’t as much to watch these days.

Granted, I could still walk back and forth all day between Carroll Avenue demolitions and Salesforce Tower construction, but I doubt you want to see photo galleries of those every other day.

So to mix things up a little, I’m on a 30-hour visit up north in Milwaukee. Like Chicago, there isn’t nearly as much happening here as the last time I visited back in 2017 (I’ve only spotted one single tower crane) but at least it’s something different.

I forgot to bring the cable that zips photos from my camera to my laptop, so I can’t post much until I get back to Chicago. But I’ll have a few Milwaukee updates for you this week.

The Ascent crane from my hotel room.

Watch via EarthCam as work begins on Milwaukee’s BMO Tower

BMO Tower Milwaukee

Google Maps image of the doomed parking garage, being demolished to make room for BMO Tower in Milwaukee.

November 16 saw groundbreaking ceremonies for BMO Tower in Milwaukee, a 25-story office building that will serve as the new home for BMO Harris Bank. Designed by Kahler Slater (Westin Milwaukee), the tower will feature 380,000 rentable square feet, and 647 parking spaces through the 8th floor. The ground floor will contain a BMO Harris bank branch. Along with BMO Harris, the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP is also signed on as a tenant.

As you can see below, our friend Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes flew over the site this weekend. BMO’s current offices are in the building on the right. To the left, you can see the demolition equipment staged atop the roof of the soon-to-be-leveled parking garage.

BMO Tower Milwaukee

Aerial view courtesy of Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

The new BMO Tower is being developed by Irgens, which will also renovate BMO Harris’ current space next door once they move into the new building. J.H. Findorff and Son (Marquette and The Couture) is the general contractor.

Of course, with Milwaukee being a far far far north suburb of Chicago, it’s a little out of my coverage radius. Thankfully, EarthCam sent over a link to its webcam for the BMO Tower project, so you can watch progress, starting with the demolition of the existing seven-story parking garage, live. You’ll find “View 3” is already zoomed in on the rooftop of that garage for you to get a close-up look.

BMO Tower Milwaukee

BMO Tower rendering from Kahler Slater.

BMO Tower Milwaukee

Another Google Maps image of the parking garage being demolished at Broadway and Wells.

Wandering Milwaukee: Honorable Tower Crane mention at the Pabst Brewery

The Brewery Pabst site Milwaukee

I see you. I’ll get over there in a bit.

There sure seems to be a lot going on at, and around, the old Pabst Brewery complex in Milwaukee’s Westown neighborhood. Visitors might not notice construction happening here, were it not for the warning beacon of a crane hovering above the site. That’s what caught my eye during my July 1 visit, and what kept me wandering The Brewery grounds for the afternoon.

I don’t know if the City of Milwaukee considers this crane an official tower crane or not, but since you’d need a permit to fly that thing here in Chicago, I’m counting it.

Developer Joseph Zilber is responsible for rejuvenating the Pabst site. Go there. (The website, not The Brewery. But then you should definitely visit the Pabst grounds in Milwaukee.)

The Milwaukee Independent has a great story about the history of The Brewery redevelopment.

I won’t even try to explain what is taking place here, except to point out that it appears there are at least 18 buildings involved. That’s over-simplifying at best. What I can do is share some photos from my walk through the neighborhood, all the while applauding all involved creating what already feels like a fun place to live, work, and play, and will only get bigger and better in the coming years.

Look, it’s way too many photos. And in no particular order. I know that. But I get carried away some times. And you should know that I still left out more than I included.

Wandering Milwaukee: Will The Couture be Milwaukee’s next tower crane?

The Couture Milwaukee

Signage proclaims The Couture’s arrival, as the newly-opened Northwestern Mutual Tower glimmers in the background.

Rumors are swirling around the Skyscraperpage forum that The Couture is about to begin construction on one of Milwaukee’s marquee corners.

On land that used to be the Milwaukee Transit Center, Barrett Lo Visionary Development is building the 44-story, 537-foot-tall residential tower in an ideal location between the Milwaukee Art Museum and Henry W. Maier Festival Park, home of Summerfest. Designed by the Milwaukee firm of Rinka Chung Architecture, The Couture will bring 600 new units to the lakefront location.

J.H. Findorff & Son is the general contractor. We just checked out some of their work at Marquette University, and we stayed in the newly completed Westin Milwaukee, last month. (We also profiled the Westin’s construction back in 2016.)

Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes sent over two great overhead shots of the site from the past, when it was still the MKE Transit Center, and the site now, which is a bare concrete slab. We noticed the empty slab, and The Couture signage, back in July. Here’s hoping that tower crane will still be there during Summerfest 2018!

Wandering Milwaukee: The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons opens today

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons is set to open Monday, August 21.

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

A rendering via Northwestern Mutual from out on the water, a view I haven’t had.

Monday August 21 will mark the opening of Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. (Download a fact sheet with a wealth of information here)

Thanks once again to Summerfest, I got another chance (I walked around the site last year; post here) to see the tower in July. Other than work on the three-acre Northwestern Mutual Garden, it looked like a completed construction site. It took a visit to the interwebs to find out Northwestern employees had yet to move in to their new digs. As per the aforementioned fact sheet, workers will start moving in on Friday, four floors at a time, until all have been relocated in October.

32 stories, 550 feet tall, weighing in at a whole lot of tons, the tower will be home to 2,400 Northwestern Mutual employees, and The Commons will be open to the public.

Congratulations to the entire team:

For more on the opening of Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons, visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.

A couple photo galleries for ya:

July 2017

A few from July 2016

 

Sometimes the tower cranes we miss are the tower cranes we miss the most

Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes sent over this photo of the WESC from June, just as the second tower crane was coming down.

We love tower cranes at Building Up Chicago. That’s no secret. We’re especially fond of scenes like Vista Tower, The Simpson-Querrey Center, McDonald’s Headquarters, and One Bennett Park, each of which have two tower cranes on site. And don’t even get us started about the two projects we saw in London that had 10 apiece.

But we can’t get to them all.

We found out today, courtesy of Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes, that the tower crane we wandered to at the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center had a sibling. Up until a couple weeks before we stopped by, the parking garage being constructed next to the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena had a second tower crane.

Hey! Why not keep a tower crane on a parking garage? Do you have any idea how helpful (and fun) it would be to use it to get cars up to and off the top level?

Curtis said neither tower crane remains on site now, so it looks like we got there just in time. Maybe one trip a year to Milwaukee isn’t often enough?

Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

Only one tower crane remained when we visited the WESC in July.

Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

Don’t get me wrong; there were still multiple cranes. Just not multiple tower cranes.