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C.G. Schmidt, Gilbane to combine on Northwestern office tower


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Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company Office Building

Milwaukee-based C.G. Schmidt Inc., collaborating with Providence, R.I.-based Gilbane Building Co., has been selected as the general contractor for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s $450 million downtown Milwaukee office tower.

The 32-story tower and attached three-story commons space are expected to create more than 1,000 construction jobs, according to a news release. Construction is expected to start this fall and be finished by 2017.

Rogers, Minn.-based Veit & Co. Inc. is deconstructing the insurance company’s 16-story building at North Cass and East Mason streets to make way for the new building.

Northwestern Mutual intends to keep 1,100 jobs downtown and house those workers in the new building, which also will include enough space to hire 1,900 additional employees.

The project includes hiring goals set by the city of Milwaukee and includes a $54 million tax incremental financing assistance agreement. Northwestern Mutual agreed to hire Milwaukee residents to work 40 percent of the construction site hours during the project and to use small businesses or those owned by women or minorities for 25 percent of the design and construction costs.

Milwaukee-based Prism Technical Management & Marketing Services LLC is monitoring achievement on the project’s RPP requirement.

C.G. Schmidt is also the general contractor for Milwaukee-based Irgens Partners LLC’s proposed tower at 833 E. Michigan St.

Gilbane and Irgens representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Rick Schmidt, president and CEO of C.G. Schmidt, declined to provide estimates for the 833 project timeline or the number of jobs it will create but said the Irgens project will break ground in late May or early June. With the Northwestern Mutual project scheduled for a fall groundbreaking, he said, there will be some overlap.

But he said he is confident C.G. Schmidt will be able to find enough workers to staff both projects, though some workers might have to come from beyond the Milwaukee area. Some workers might get hours on both projects, he said. C.G. Schmidt is working with trades groups and chambers of commerce to begin the search for firms to meet hiring needs, including the Residence Preference Program and Small Business Enterprise goals on the Northwestern Mutual project. Having Gilbane help with the Northwestern project, he said, will make it easier to manage both.

“They’re supplying a lot of the team members as well,” Schmidt said, “so we’re able to juggle it.”

About Beth Kevit

Beth Kevit is the Milwaukee city beat reporter and also covers real estate. She can be reached at [email protected] or 414-225-1820.

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