Since renewing its lease in 2013, Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. has been working on a massive renovation project at the U.S. Bank Center, which could eventually lead to the company leasing another floor of the downtown Milwaukee tower.
The employee-owned, international financial services firm, is the largest tenant in the building, currently occupying 14 floors of the 1.1 million-square-foot building.
Baird announced in March 2013 that it would renew its lease at the U.S. Bank Building for 15 years and, at that time, had hired 500 people over the past five years. Today, the company employs 1,200 to 1,300 in Milwaukee, said Leslie Dixon, chief human capital officer.
“We recently looked at our headcount and realized we still need to grow our space,” Dixon said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
Joseph Ullrich, U.S. Bank’s vice president and director of real estate, could not be reached for comment about additional space being leased in the building.
Baird originally began renovating its space in 2008, but slowed down during the Great Recession. After renewing its lease, renovations picked up again. Baird is working with Milwaukee-based Selzer-Ornst Construction Co. on the project.
The renovations will provide more collaborative space, open work stations and more light throughout the offices, said Mark Blumenberg, vice president and construction manager at Baird.
“We have had very specific goals of what we wanted,” Blumenberg said, adding that a new conference center has been built on the 29th floor, Baird’s highest floor.
The company would not reveal the cost of the renovations.
Milwaukee building permits pulled between 2012 and March 2016 show Selzer-Ornst has done $2.9 million worth of work at the U.S. Bank Building, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave.
The project is expected to be completed at the end of 2018.
“The reaction of our employees has been really good and they are excited about our new look,” Dixon said. “We’ve done a ton to bring more of our brand and culture into the work space and the reaction has been fantastic.”