Make Way for Wisconsin’s Largest Building!
Plan for new NML building has been expanded to make it the state's largest building.
As expected, Northwestern Mutual Life’s 33-story 550 foot office tower received a key approval at today’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee meeting. The $73.3 million TIF, Tax Incremental District No. 78, was approved by the committee to support the financing of the project.
What wasn’t expected was the building’s increase in size. During the meeting Rocky Marcoux, Department of City Development Commissioner, made it official: NML’s downtown office building will be the “largest building under roof in the State of Wisconsin.”
The revised plan is a 1,114,000 square foot building, almost 300,000 square feet larger than first proposed, to accommodate NML’s growth through 2025. The proposed structure will surpass the U.S. Bank building, which, at 1,077,000 square feet, is currently the state’s largest building. The U.S. Bank building will remain the state’s tallest, with 42 stories.
The NML project’s estimated cost is now $400 million, up from the initially planned $300 million, and the planned TIF amount dedicated to the NML partion of the project was increased to $54 million from the originally proposed $48 million. In conjunction with the increased TIF funding the city and NML agreed on a new job creation goals of 1,900 new jobs.
The increased building size allows for the addition of a four-story section along Mason St. This new 400,000 square-foot commons area will include training and meeting rooms, and a cafeteria. Marcoux explained that the expanded footprint intends to “embrace Mason Street.” A portion of the increased TIF funds will be used for public improvements along Mason St., and $18 million of the city’s portion of the TIF will be used for improvements as part of the Lakefront Gateway Project.
Ald. Willie Wade was fine with the TIF increase, saying, “TIFing is not the evil that some people say it is, I personally think we are conservative with it.” Ald. Jim Bohl was more rhapsodic, describing the project in baseball terms: “it literally is hitting two grand slams in the same inning.”
The file received unanimous support by the committee.
Correction: An early version of this article reported the total TIF amount as $54 million which was incorrect, the correct amount is $73.3 million. The $54 million is the portion of the TIF assigned to NML.
The Bookends Project is Back
The NML approval wasn’t the only big news coming out of today’s ZND committee meeting. During the discussion of a seemingly insignificant file that would allow ABM Parking Services to use the lot at 700 E. Kilbourn Ave. as a parking lot, it was made clear that this was intended for temporary use. That’s because a project is in the works for this site, possibly the previously approved New Land Enterprises 19-story 224-unit mixed used apartment building known as the Bookends which had been planned for this lot, and as Ald. Robert Bauman stated during the meeting, “there’s a real chance this project will go forward soon.” The project has been discussed but delayed in the past. At this time it’s not clear if the details of the project have changed.