Out with the old and in with new along Milwaukee's lakefront. The old transit center clock tower is being torn down this weekend.
“It wasn't pretty, it wasn't functional, and it sure wasn't generating jobs or revenue,” said County Executive Chris Abele.
The clock tower is all that is left of the concrete bus barn on the eastern end of Michigan Street. On Saturday morning, the clock tower will also vanish to rubble.
After three years and two lawsuits, the county is moving forward with the Couture project. Abele says the iconic building that will replace the transit center it will help revitalize downtown.
"For the county the prospect of creating 2,000 jobs, adding $68 million to the property tax base - a multi-module transportation hub, where you’re going to have Bubbler bikes, pedestrian, the street car and transit; it's something to be excited about," Abele said.
A high-rise apartment building called "Couture" will take the clock tower's place. The skyscraper will have 302 apartments, restaurant and retail space.
The Couture will be integrated with a pedestrian bridge to O’Donnell Park and E. Wisconsin Avenue.
Mayor Tom Barrett says the project is creating jobs for local workers.
“We make it a point when we're working with developers particularly when there is city money involved to say - look, you have to make sure that there are going to be people from underserved areas from this city who are going to be part of this as well,” said Barrett.
The Couture is considered one of downtown's catalytic projects, changing the face of Milwaukee’s skyline.
“The stronger the heart is the stronger the city is,” said Barrett.
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