Milwaukee offering $11.6 million for Fiserv HQ project, nearby public infrastructure


Last updated on November 7th, 2022 at 02:35 pm

The city of Milwaukee is proposing an $11.6 million investment to support Fiserv’s new corporate headquarters downtown, along with improvements to nearby public infrastructure.

Fiserv announced plans last week to move its global headquarters from Brookfield to the HUB640 building in downtown Milwaukee. The building was previously home to Boston Store parent company Bon-Ton. It is located adjacent to the former Grand Avenue Mall, now known as The Avenue following a massive redevelopment effort.

Under the planned tax incremental financing package, the city would reimburse Fiserv $7 million of the roughly $37 million the company plans to spend in renovating its new headquarters.

Another $4.6 million would be spent to design and construct public infrastructure improvements in and near the TIF district. The spending would include $2.5 million for traffic calming elements, bike facilities, new pavement, trees, landscaping and traffic signals along West Michigan Street between the Milwaukee River and North 6th Street.

North Wells Capital, the owner of HUB640, would receive a cash grant of $1 million for streetscape and sidewalk improvements around the perimeter of the building as part of the $4.6 million.

The project plans also include $750,000 for public art and informative kiosks memorializing and celebrating the legacy of Vel R. Phillips at the proposed Vel R. Phillips Plaza at 401 W. Wisconsin Ave.; $100,000 for a pedestrian path and lighting improvements at Zeidler Square; $75,000 for improvements to the West Michigan Street and North 6th Street intersection; and a $175,000 public infrastructure contingency.

The Fiserv TIF will be up for a public hearing on Nov. 17 and would then need approvals from the city’s Redevelopment Authority, Common Council and Joint Review Board.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson is also proposing a separate  $4.1 million TIF district that would fund public infrastructure projects, including traffic calming measures, along East North Avenue. Projects included in that plan would take place between North Humboldt Avenue and North Prospect Avenue.

“My administration is utilizing the tools and resources at our disposal to combat reckless driving, improve public safety, boost economic development, and enhance accessibility and inclusivity for people walking, biking, and gathering in every corner of Milwaukee,” Johnson said in a statement. “We know that investing in neighborhood commercial corridors and public plazas can create jobs, promote public safety, support small businesses, and grow the population – all major priorities of mine. These new tax incremental financing investments will work towards all of those goals.”

Fiserv’s reimbursement could be repaid over up to 20 years with 4.5% interest rate that starts after the project is completed. The city would repay the company using 75% of the tax increment generated by the district annually. The other 25% of the increment would go toward the public infrastructure projects.

In exchange for the city support, Fiserv is committing to having 580 FTEs based at the headquarters at the end of the first fiscal year of the project and 780 FTEs by 2027. To account for the growing use of hybrid and remote work, the agreement between the company and city calls for workday occupancy at the headquarters to average at least 60%. Employees living in the city of Milwaukee but working remotely would count toward the average.

Fiserv is also committing to keep its headquarters at HUB640 for at least 16 years and would sign a lease for that duration with the option to extend for an additional 20 years. The plans define the headquarters as having key divisions, including initially finance, communications and IT, product development, human resources, benefits, and legal functions.

Renovation of the HUB640 building for Fiserv will have to meet city requirements for using small and disadvantaged businesses along with the Residents Preference Program for construction work. Fiserv is also going to partner with Near West Side Partners to provide small businesses resources to the Concordia 27 community center and will maintain an average of three tech apprenticeships for city residents through 2039.

The project plan also calls for janitorial, security and food service staff, both direct hire and contracted, to make at least $15 per hour through 2024 with an annual escalator of at least 2%.

Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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