Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

American Family Plans Downtown Building

"Fairly large building" planned for Madison insurance company's Milwaukee office.

By - Jan 22nd, 2019 02:54 pm
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Potential site for American Family Insurance. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Potential site for American Family Insurance. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Miller Park is about to get a new name, courtesy of a Madison-based insurance company, but the bigger news for Milwaukee is American Family Insurance’s plan to open a downtown Milwaukee office.

Buried in a press conference announcing the new naming rights partner for Milwaukee’s Major League Baseball stadium, American Family CEO Jack Salzwedel announced the company’s intent to create a “fairly large building down in the core of the city.”

The planned building would house primarily information technology and data science workers.

“This fits actually with an overall Milwaukee strategy we have been working on for about a year,” said the CEO at a press conference at Miller Park. “It involves building a fairly large building down in the core of the city and a strategy that includes more jobs, jobs in software engineering and data science area. We have been working very closely with [Mayor Tom Barrett] to try and look at different sites and opportunities for us in the city of Milwaukee.”

That explains why Barrett was joining the CEO and Milwaukee Brewers officials on stage.

“We announced to our leadership group in Madison this morning to building a building or having a building in downtown Milwaukee,” said Salzwedel.

But where? “That site has not been completed yet,” said the CEO.

The city has a number of sites it could be pitching. The premiere site is the lakefront parcel once targeted for a Johnson Controls office tower. The city also owns a parking lot between N. Vel Phillips Ave. and N. 5th St. along Wisconsin Ave. that has been targeted for redevelopment and extension of The Hop.

Other potential sites include the former Park East freeway corridor, the western half of which is now owned by the Milwaukee Bucks and a series of parking lots owned by the Italian Community Center between the Historic Third Ward neighborhood and Henry Maier Festival Grounds.

“There are many many ways for us to build a closer relationship. The city of Milwaukee is very excited about this. We think this is a beautiful relationship that is going to grow even stronger between this company and this city,” said Barrett. “I want to thank you for your investment, I want you to thank for believing in this ballpark, and believing in this team and believing in this city.”

The new name for Miller Park will be unveiled at a later date. The 20-year, $40-million naming rights partnership with MillerCoors runs through the 2020 season.

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