Real estate deal of the week

National City to move Wisconsin HQ from Brookfield to downtown Milwaukee
Cleveland, Ohio-based National City Corp. announced that it plans to move its Wisconsin headquarters from Brookfield to the 411 East Wisconsin Center building in downtown Milwaukee.

"The move to 411 East Wisconsin Center, located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee’s business district, demonstrates National City’s commitment to becoming one of Wisconsin’s leading financial institutions," said Beth R. Wnuk, president of National City – Wisconsin Banking. "Combining our existing Milwaukee operations into a downtown headquarters provides a dramatic and visible base to grow market share and strengthen the connection between our employees and their customers. We want to invest in the region’s future and be a part of its success. Our goal is not to be just another bank in Greater Milwaukee, but to be a vital community and economic partner in the development and growth of our community."

National City’s current Wisconsin headquarters is located in the Bishop’s Woods office park at 13400 Bishops Lane, Suite 190, Brookfield.

The bank will occupy 22,500 square feet of space in the downtown Milwaukee building, including 12,500 square feet of space for a new retail branch on the first floor. National City will bring a total of 87 employees downtown, 75 people in the office and 12 in the retail branch, said spokeswoman Terri Wilson.

The downtown branch will open in October. It will occupy space formerly occupied by an M&I Bank branch that closed last year.

The downtown Milwaukee National City Wisconsin headquarters office will open after Jan. 1.

"All of National City’s state headquarters offices are in downtowns of major metropolitan areas," Wilson said. "That’s where the business community is. If a state doesn’t have a strong city the rest of the communities don’t grow either. Downtown is the place to be. Downtown is the heart of economic development. That’s where it happens. Growth moves out from there. Downtown is the heart of the city."

The 411 East Wisconsin Center is owned by Santa Ana, Calif.-based Grubb & Ellis Co., which acquired the building’s former owner, Triple Net Properties, last year. Grubb & Ellis is represented by Matt Hunter of CB Richard Ellis for the 411 East Wisconsin Center.

National City also announced that it will expand its Greater Milwaukee market presence by adding approximately 11 new locations over the next three years to its current branch network of 24 banking centers, which it obtained with the acquisition of MAF Bancorp Inc. in 2007, which had acquired St. Francis Capital Corp., the former parent company of St. Francis Bank, in 2003.

National City will look for gaps in southeastern Wisconsin that it isn’t currently serving to add new branches, Wilson said.

"We are looking at areas to fill in," she said. "There are not specific locations. Typically what we try to do is look at the map and see where we have some openings. Our retail branch expansion team is reviewing all of that now. We have some ideas, but we don’t want to go public with them now."

Looking at National City’s current locations, gaps the bank could look to fill include northern Milwaukee County, western Waukesha County, Racine County, Kenosha County, and central and northern Ozaukee County. National City currently has five locations in Milwaukee, two in Wauwatosa, West Allis and Waukesha; and single locations in Cudahy, New Berlin, Muskego, Oak Creek, Greendale, Thiensville, Germantown, West Bend, Kewaskum, Hartford and Lake Geneva.

National City’s first new, full-service branch, expected to open in October 2008, will be the one located on the first floor of the bank’s new headquarters in downtown Milwaukee. Its next new branch will open next year, Wilson said.

National City said its branch expansion plan will add an estimated 60 new jobs over the next three years throughout Greater Milwaukee.

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