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Class Notes Profiles

Cultivating Milwaukee

Rick Barrett, Bus Ad ’95, planted a stake called the Moderne on the map of Milwaukee. Milwaukeeans watched it rise to 30 stories during the economic downturn to finally stand dominant as the solitary high rise west of the Milwaukee River.

The luxury condo and apartment tower won the 2013 Project of the Year award from the Wisconsin Business Journal. Barrett best describes its amenities: “It’s all about the wow!”

Barrett has some history upsetting norms. He often takes innovative projects a step further, such as another lauded development, River Homes at the Beerline. The original scope of 44 condos was blasted beyond original expectations when Barrett sought state funding to establish the connected Milwaukee Rowing Club and Urban Ecology Center.

He’s ready to do it again, plant another stake, this one on the lakefront. Barrett and architect Matt Rinka will break ground in 2014 on the Couture, a 44-story hotel and retail complex. Their vision for a beautiful building plus walkways and bridges to connect the city’s museum district, Summerfest grounds and nearby retail district trumped other proposals for the site.

“It took a Marquette grad and a University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee grad who spent their teen years on the lakefront and know the city best,” says Barrett. “We want to fix infrastructure and connectivity.”

This development, like all those he chooses, fulfills Barrett’s preference to work on projects in great locations that make a difference and provide inspiration for the city. — Joni Moths Mueller


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