Northwestern Mutual unveils plan to build new business tower

MILWAUKEE -- Northwestern Mutual officials announced plans on Thursday, December 6th for a new downtown Milwaukee office tower expected to preserve 1,100 current jobs in the city while creating as many as 1,700 new jobs.

The development is planned on the campus of Northwestern Mutual's current east office building at the southeast corner of N. Cass and E. Mason Streets. Northwestern Mutual officials announced in 2011 it would demolish the 500,000 square foot building because it was getting too expensive to maintain it.

"We believe that this building will positively-transform the skyline of Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee community," NML Chairman and CEO John Schlifske said.

The new tower would cost Northwestern Mutual upwards of $300 million and create an estimated 840,000 square feet of office space. 

"We're expanding so we can better serve our policy-holders and our clients -- the more than four million of them who are part of our company. We're gonna build a contemporary high-rise building, with more than 800,000 square feet of office space," Schlifske said.

It was almost 10 years ago that Roundy's Supermarkets moved its home office just across the street from NML's campus. Roundy's Chairman and CEO said he was happy to hear NML's news.

"Northwestern Mutual should be applauded for their decision to build and grow in the city of Milwaukee," Robert Mariano said.

Schlifske said his hope is that those poised to join the workforce view his company's announcement as another indication of the city of Milwaukee's evolution.

"I would encourage them to stay here and start out in Milwaukee, because it's a great place to work," Schlifske said.

The plan needs the city's approval of its proposal to utilize a tax incremental financing or TIF plan to help cover construction costs.

Pending city approvals, the development could be complete in 2017. Architectural renderings of the project could be unveiled by 2013.