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Apr. 29, 2013

City Weighs $54M TIF for Northwestern Mutual’s 1.1 MSF Tower

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Milwaukee’s zoning, neighborhoods and development committee has unanimously approved a $54 million developer-funded tax increment financing (TIF) plan for Northwestern Mutual’s proposed 1.1 million-square-foot Downtown headquarters tower.

Estimated to cost between $350 million and $400 million, according to The Business Journal, the 33-story building would replace the financial services company’s office at 800 E. Wisconsin Ave. The company expects to begin demolition of the existing building this year and start construction on the new tower by fall 2014. Upon completion in 2017, the 550-foot structure will be the largest single building in Wisconsin.

“Building now in downtown Milwaukee is the right thing for us, just as 10 years ago it was right to add capacity in Franklin,” said John E. Schlifske, the company’s chairman & CEO. “We said then and I’ll say now, we expect over the decades to continue to grow at both campuses.”

Since Northwestern Mutual unveiled the proposed project in December, its planned size has increased about 30 percent. The facility will accommodate 1,100 Milwaukee employees and provide room for expansion. Northwestern Mutual’s long-term growth plans include adding 1,900 jobs by 2030.  

Under the proposed TIF agreement, the company will finance the entire cost of the development. Once the new building begins producing tax revenue at a level exceeding that of the current East Wisconsin Ave. property, Northwestern Mutual will recover $54 million over a period of 25 years. If the company meets its employment projections, it will receive 70 percent of the tax increment, while the city will use the remaining 30 percent to fund Lakefront Gateway projects. The full Common Council is expected to review the plan on April 30, BizTimes Milwaukee reports. 

Founded in Janesville in 1857, Northwestern Mutual moved to Milwaukee years later. The company’s home office includes two campuses with four buildings and 3,000 employees in downtown Milwaukee, as well as two buildings with 2,000 employees at the Franklin campus.

Photo credits: betf.blogspot

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