Roundy’s corporate headquarters will return to Milwaukee
Downtown Milwaukee retail and residential development is expected to get a boost from corporate relocation of Roundy’s Inc. to east Wisconsin Avenue from Pewaukee.
The corporation announced April 14 that between 500 and 550 corporate employees would be housed in a facility being developed by Irgens Development Partners at 875 E. Wisconsin Ave. The corporation will lease 120,000 square feet of the 206,748-square-foot building, which is 90% leased.
The Roundy’s employees will be relocated from the Pewaukee headquarters and from Roundy’s facilities on Burleigh Street in Wauwatosa and on Holt Avenue on Milwaukee’s south side. The corporation’s distribution operations will remain at the Burleigh Street facility, which is adjacent to Highway 45.
While the new downtown office will provide more efficient operations for Roundy’s, corporate CEO Robert Mariano said quality-of-life issues were also at play in the decision to locate downtown. "The city of Milwaukee is absolutely the right place for our home office," said Robert Mariano, Roundy’s CEO. "There is so much here for our employees," he said at a downtown press conference announcing the move. "Many people just don’t know all the great things this city has to offer."
The employees will move into the new office structure is stages this fall. There will be no remaining corporate presence in Pewaukee, Mariano said.
Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, noting that Roundy’s got its start in downtown Milwaukee, called it a "great day for the city." He said the presence of the Roundy’s employees "will fuel more development," including retail and residential development.
"Employees of Roundy’s will enjoy the good life of downtown Milwaukee," said Norquist, noting the many restaurants, shops and cultural amenities nearby. The 875 building is adjacent to O’Donnell Park and a stone’s throw from the Milwaukee Art Musuem, with its Calatrava-designed addition.
People who call on the corporate office from around the world will also enjoy those amenities, Mariano added.
When asked about Roundy’s retail presence in downtown Milwaukee, Mariano told those attending the press conference that another announcement related to its presence in downtown Milwaukee isn’t far off.
CG Schmidt is building the eight-story office tower for Irgens Development and will lease 4,000 square feet of space in it. Also signed as a major tenant is Artisan Partners, which will lease more than 54,000 square feet of office space in the building.
Mariano said Roundy’s considered several locations before settling on the downtown Milwaukee site. He called the cost to lease the facility "a wash" compared to what the company is paying for its current spaces.
He said employees expressed some concern about getting downtown and about parking. The company may address the traffic situation by adopting work shifts.
The Roundy’s home office, on Roundy Drive, was built in 1985 and now houses more than 200 employees. It moved to that location after being based on Burleigh Street in Wauwatosa, where it moved to in 1954 from Milwaukee. The company was established in 1872 at the corner of Water and Clybourn streets downtown, then moved to 241 N. Broadway 13 years later.
The corporation now has $4 billion in annual sales and supplies more than 800 supermarkets in 14 states from eight distribution centers. In addition, Roundy’s operates more than 80 Pick ‘n Save and Copps Food Centers. The company is owned by investment funds controlled by Willis Stein & Partners, Chicago, and employs more than 14,000 people.
April 18, 2003, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, by David Niles, SBT Editor