Jeramey Jannene

Baird Name Will Be Added Atop U.S Bank Center

Financial company extends its lease of nearly half of Wisconsin's tallest building.

By - Jul 6th, 2023 01:27 pm
US Bank Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

U.S. Bank Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

One of Milwaukee’s largest employers has had a quiet presence in the city for decades, but that’s about to change.

Financial services firm Baird will soon see its name displayed at the top of Wisconsin’s tallest building and on its largest convention center.

The company announced Thursday it has extended its lease at the U.S. Bank Center for five more years, through 2033. It occupies 21 floors of the 42-story downtown tower, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave. The lease includes 456,000 square feet of space, maintaining the company as the largest tenant in the 1.1-million-square-foot building.

“Every few years we conduct a thorough review of our current and future space needs, then look at our options to ensure we are providing the best experience for our associates and clients,” said CEO and chairman Steve Booth in a statement. “Milwaukee is a great place to do business and U.S. Bank Center has proven to be an excellent location for Baird as we’ve continued to add new talent to best serve our clients. We are committed to the local community and pleased to be a major part of its future.”

The Milwaukee-based company operates an independent investment bank and offers financial services to a wide variety of clients. It reports more than $376 billion in assets under management and 5,100 employees across the globe, which includes more than 1,600 employees located Downtown.

The lease renewal includes signage on the north and south sides of the building and on the attached parking structure. US Bank signage will remain in several areas, including atop the building.

The 601-foot-tall tower, Wisconsin’s tallest, isn’t the only place Baird will show off its brand.

In March, Baird was announced as the naming-rights partner for the $456 million expansion of the Wisconsin Center convention center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. The change to the “Baird Center” was originally to go into effect when the expansion opened in 2024, but was pushed forward to July 1. Several individuals, including Mayor Cavalier Johnson, were already routinely calling the building the Baird Center in public remarks. The agreement with the Wisconsin Center District is for 15 years.

The office tower, which opened in 1973, continues to be owned by Minneapolis-based US Bank. As a result of bank mergers it has seen its name changed from the First Wisconsin Center to the Firstar Center before taking its current name in 2002. Baird was founded as the securities arm of First Wisconsin National Bank in 1919, but spun off in 1934. It became an employee-owned company in 2004.

Baird has been located in the tower for nearly five decades. Long publicly known as Robert W. Baird and Co., the company last publicly renewed its lease in 2013, adding 15 years to a lease of 286,000 square feet spread across 13 floors. Today, The Baird Financial Group is the parent organization to operating subsidiaries Baird Trust Company, Robert W. Baird and Co. Incorporated and Europe-based Robert W. Baird Group Ltd.

The top of the building is leased to law firm Foley & Lardner. The tower property is currently assessed for $179.8 million, making it one of the city’s 10 most valuable properties.

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