The insurance giant Northwestern Mutual wants to build a $400 million office tower, that would be at least 30 stories tall, on the corner of Cass and Mason, in downtown Milwaukee. It would replace a 16-story building from the 1970s.
On Tuesday, the Common Council approved a developer-funded Tax Incremental Financing plan. That means Northwestern Mutual will pay all the costs up front, then be reimbursed from property taxes the improved neighborhood generates.
Ald. Robert Bauman says the company will recoup $54 million over 25 years. He calls the city investment well worth it.
“To me, this is a tremendous vote of confidence by a major Milwaukee corporation, a major employer in Milwaukee, that they see the future and progress in downtown as being so strong that they are willing to invest literally hundreds of millions of dollars in the central business district -- when they had options," Bauman says.
Bauman says those options included expanding at a lower cost, on the company’s campus in Franklin.
In addition to the prestige the new tower will bring to downtown, Bauman says the city gets something else out of the deal: $18 million included in the TIF package. He says the money will pay for infrastructure improvements, including roads and pedestrian bridges that will become part of Milwaukee’s Lakefront Gateway project.