Northwestern Mutual confirms plans for 33-story mixed-use tower downtown

33-story, mixed-use tower on the block bounded by North Van Buren, North Jackson, East Mason and East Wells streets.

Northwestern Mutual Construction
Rendering of new Northwestern Mutual Tower
Northwestern Mutual Construction
Rendering of new Northwestern Mutual Tower

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. confirmed a report from BizTimes Milwaukee earlier today, which said that the company plans to build a 33-story, mixed-use tower on the block bounded by North Van Buren, North Jackson, East Mason and East Wells streets.

BizTimes Milwaukee first reported the story today in the BizTimes Daily.

Northwestern Mutual says the $100 million development, adjacent to its downtown Milwaukee headquarters campus, will feature high-end residential apartments and retail space, while also addressing the company’s workforce parking needs.

View a photo gallery of the development renderings here.

“Northwestern Mutual believes more strongly than ever in Milwaukee and the vibrancy of our city,” said Tom Zale, vice president and head of Northwestern Mutual Real Estate, the company’s real estate arm and one of the largest such investors in the nation. “That’s why we’re creating a destination for future residents looking to live, work and play in the heart of an exciting city while providing convenient parking for our growing employee base.”

Features of the new building will include:

  • A 25-story residential high-rise with a total of 308 high-end apartment units and 16 penthouse units with extensive views of Lake Michigan and downtown. The building will have one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.
  • A plaza at the corner of Mason and Van Buren that will invite activity from adjacent tenants and the community. Ground-floor retail space along Jackson, Mason and Van Buren streets.
  • An 8-story parking garage with 1,100 parking stalls below the 25 residential stories. Northwestern Mutual will make some spaces available for employees, with the remainder open to the public at market rates. The parking structure will feature dedicated space for bicycles and motorcycles, and charging stations for electric cars may also be included.
  • A glass exterior, a 9th floor rooftop swimming pool, an outdoor fire pit, an indoor golf simulator, and a large fitness center.  Additional underground parking stalls will be available exclusively for tenants.

“Milwaukee is experiencing a renaissance, and we’re proud to be one of a growing number of projects that are a magnet to draw even more talent and businesses to the city,” said Zale. “Our new building will also provide positive economic impact and contribute to the city’s tax base.”

Zale said that the development is also an important addition to Northwestern Mutual’s diverse investment portfolio that produces significant benefits to the company’s millions of clients.

Solomon Cordwell Buenz is designing the project with structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates. Northwestern Mutual is working with development manager Hines to select additional professional services and contractors.

Demolition of buildings currently on the site will begin in January with construction starting in March. The building will be designed with environmental sustainability in mind, and the company expects the project to be completed and occupied by spring 2018.

The site for the 33-story, mixed-use building is located just northwest of where Northwestern Mutual is building the $450 million, 32-story, 1.1 million-square-foot Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons office building on its headquarters campus. That project is expected to be complete in 2017.

The company plans to add 1,900 employees to its downtown campus by 2030 and needs additional parking spaces as it expands employment there.

The company made an offer to purchase and improve the nearby O’Donnell Park parking structure from Milwaukee County to provide parking for its employees. But in December 2014 the County Board rejected the proposed sale of the O’Donnell Park parking structure to the company.

Northwestern Mutual then immediately announced that it planned to build a mixed use real estate development that would include 1,000 parking spaces, residences and retail space. The company said it would build the structure on one of two sites that it owns, including the site northwest of Mason and Van Buren.

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