Jack Fennimore
Friday Photos

Quick Pace for NM Tower and Commons

It will be the state's largest office building, and construction is progressing quickly.

By - Nov 13th, 2015 01:53 pm
The Tower. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

The NM Tower. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons at 800 E. Wisconsin Ave. is getting closer to completion. The Tower portion is continuing to rise with much of the steel beams and floors completed. The Commons portion next to the Northwestern Mutual South Building at 720 E. Wisconsin Ave. is also coming along nicely with most of the walls on the lower floors completed. Once finished, the Tower and Commons will be the biggest office building in the state.

Plans for the building were first announced in December 2012. But it wasn’t until August 2014 that the official groundbreaking ceremony commenced and not until March 2015 that demolition of the 16-story East Building, ended and the early stages of construction began, as we reported.

As Urban Milwaukee later reported, the 32-story, 1.1 million-square-foot building will house 1,100 workers. The building is being designed by the firm of Pickard Chilton with contracting handled by Gilbane Building Co. and C.G. Schmidt Inc., along with many other subcontractors. The project is planned for completion in 2017.

The building costs are estimated at $450 million. Northwestern Mutual agreed to hire certified Small Business Enterprises to do 25 percent of the work and employ city residents for 40 percent of the project’s hours as part of a $54 million self-financed tax-incremental financing (TIF) district created by the city. $18 million in TIF money will go towards general improvements to the public spaces a half-mile around the project, including the redesigning and repaving of streets and new Bublr Bike stations.

According to a travel alert issued by Northwestern Mutual, the eastbound lane of E. Mason St. from N. Cass St. to N. Marshall St. will be closed on Monday, Nov. 16th from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The westbound lane will be open. Both lanes of E. Mason St. between N. Cass St. and N. Marshall St. will be open and the Northwestern Mutual parking structure entrances will not be impacted. More lane closures are expected to occur as construction of the Tower and Commons continues.

In other news, Northwestern Mutual’s mysterious next project has been revealed to be an additional 33-story building being built on a site bounded by N. Van Buren St., N. Jackson St., E. Mason St. and E. Wells St., according to a press release in October. It will feature 308 high-end apartment spaces, along with 16 penthouse units, retail space, a rooftop swimming pool on the 9th floor, an outdoor fire pit, indoor golf simulator, large fitness center and 1,100 stalls of public parking below the 25 residential stories with some space available for employees. Demolition on the buildings remaining on the site is planned to begin in January with construction of the new complex starting in March. The building is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2018.

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