Northwestern Mutual making significant investment in Milwaukee

October 8, 2015
By Steve Waring
Special to The Milwaukee Times
(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the massive financial investment in the future of downtown Milwaukee currently in process by Northwestern Mutual which has had its corporate headquarters in Milwaukee since 1859.)

African American male workers were visible throughout Northwestern Mutual’s construction site during a recent tour by members of the Milwaukee Times’ staff

The investment includes construction of state-of-the art, high-rise office buildings, apprenticeship training, preserving 1,100 jobs and adding 1,900 new jobs, most with generous benefits and good salaries. On September 28, The Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper was granted an exclusive tour of the flagship $300 million, 11 million square foot, 32-story mixed use addition to Northwestern Mutual’s iconic 1912-era, world headquarters building at 720 E. Wisconsin Ave.

This first article resulting from the tour will focus on what we saw and learned at what will be called the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons when it opens, currently scheduled for the end of December 2017. Aside from the presence of the tall cranes, which are not in operation every day, the area is so heavily secured with high fencing and plastic sheeting that it might appear as if little work is occurring based on a quick glance at street level.

Nothing could be further from the truth, according to a representative from Milwaukee-based C.G. Schmidt Inc., who in col- laboration with Providence, R.I.-based Gilbane Building Co. are the primary contrac- tors. We were also accompanied by Northwestern Mutu- al Facilities Manager Scott A. Wollenzien and Northwest- ern Mutual Senior Public Relations Consultant John L. Gardner, who answered the majority of the questions.