The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
is offering Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc.
up to $7 million in tax credits to support the company’s decision to move its headquarters to downtown Milwaukee rather than another state.
Fiserv announced plans in October
to move its headquarters to the HUB640 building at 640 Vel R. Phillips Ave., which was previously home to headquarters for the parent company of Boston Store. Fiserv’s plans included investing nearly $40 million in the facility.
However, the company also plans to retain an office at its Brookfield location, which is located in an office park south of Bluemound Road. According to WEDC records, the company has a data center at the site and moving it, and the related jobs, to downtown, would be cost prohibitive.
Beyond the state incentives, the new headquarters project is also supported by $11.6 million in tax incremental financing from the city of Milwaukee, including $7 million that will reimburse the company for a portion of its investment. The remainder of the $4.6 million in funds will go towards public infrastructure projects in the surrounding area.
The incentives from WEDC are contingent on Fiserv creating 250 new full-time jobs at the Milwaukee headquarters over the next five years and 72 new jobs at other locations in the state, bringing its Wisconsin employment up to 980. The company also needs to keep its headquarters in the state and make significant capital investments.
Retaining the corporate headquarters, and related jobs, accounts for $3.125 million of the incentives. Job creation accounts for $2.25 million and capital investment is responsible for $1.625 million.
Fiserv considered three other areas – Berkely Heights, New Jersey; Alpharetta, Georgia; and Coral Springs, Florida – for its headquarters project. All three of those locations are currently home to significant Fiserv operations. In 2021, Fiserv committed to adding 2,000 jobs to its operations to New Jersey. The company told WEDC the Wisconsin headquarters positions could be moved to Berkely Heights to help meet its commitments to New Jersey, according to WEDC records.
The 322 new jobs that Fiserv says it will create in Wisconsin have an average starting wage of $41.40 per hour. Most of the positions are in technology – 157 jobs with an average starting wage of $37.33 – or finance – 102 jobs starting at $48.57.
“Fiserv is a global leader in payments and financial technology, which makes them a perfect fit among Wisconsin’s most innovative businesses,” said WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes. “Their decision to make Milwaukee their global headquarters is not only a win for the city, but one that will drive job growth and prosperity statewide. We are pleased to be able to assist them as they embark on this new chapter in Wisconsin.”
Fiserv’s decision to move its headquarters to downtown Milwaukee comes after at least five years of on-and-off searches by the company.
“Fiserv is proud to call Wisconsin home, and we look forward to continuing to grow in Milwaukee’s vibrant downtown area,” said Frank Bisignano, Fiserv chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are energized to create a new dynamic workplace experience where we will bring people together to further inspire innovation and collaboration, and attract the best talent to serve our clients.”
In 2017, an RFP for a 125,000-square-foot building led the company to narrow its search to three sites, including The Corridor in Brookfield, the UWM Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa and Reed Street Yards in Milwaukee, but never moved forward.
At the time, a potential incentive package for the company made its way into special legislation aimed at enabling incentives for Foxconn to locate in Mount Pleasant. The Fiserv legislation enabled up to $10 million in enterprise zone incentives for a financial services firm that completed a competitive corporate location process and kept at least 93% of its employees in the same.
Typically, state incentives are only available for projects that create new jobs.
Fiserv's 2017 search for a new headquarters location, however, never moved forward. A second search in 2019 did not lead to a decision either and then the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted any potential plans.
The incentives announced Thursday were made under the state’s business development tax credits program, not the enterprise zone program included in the Foxconn legislation.
[caption id="attachment_71" align="aligncenter" width="770"]
Fiserv Inc. corporate headquarters in Brookfield[/caption]