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Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons opens its doors

The doors to the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons are officially open.

Work finished earlier this year on the 32-story, 1.1 million-square-foot building. The tower, which stands north of East Wisconsin Avenue near the city’s lakefront, has been praised by city and industry officials for being a transformative project for Milwaukee ever since ground was first broken on it in the fall of 2014.

Now that it is officially open, the $450 million project will house approximately 2,400 Northwestern Mutual employees, who are moving into the new building from the company’s Milwaukee and Franklin campuses.

Some notable features include a glass curtain wall, a three-acre landscaped green space and a Starbucks coffee inside Commons.

“With its sleek glass exterior and innovative work environment, our Tower and Commons building represents our transformation—from being the best life insurance company to being the best financial security company,” John Schlifske, chairman and chief executive of Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. “Our new building will help us meet the multiple financial needs of clients for decades to come.”

The construction of the Tower and Commons employed more than 2,600 people, including about 1,200 city residents who were previously unemployed or underemployed. The project also offered contracting opportunities to a number of local small businesses.

“Our new building demonstrates our confidence in the future of Northwestern Mutual,” said Schlifske. “Everything about it is designed to help employees collaborate and innovate to deliver greater value to our clients. We also look forward to attracting and retaining the talent we need to grow.”

Company officials were handed the keys to the building in June once the project was substantially complete. Personnel involved with building operations, security, cleaning and restaurant service were first allowed to move into the building in order to become familiar with the new equipment. Monday marked the first day that the rest of the employees were able to start moving in.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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