Northwestern Mutual has announced its plans for the construction of its new World Headquarters in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To be situated on the same downtown campus the firm has occupied for nearly 100 years, this $450M 32-story corporate tower will also includes the “Commons”, a 3-story podium green space and gardens designed by OJB.
The “Commons” will feature a wide variety of amenities for the 3,000 employees who will occupy the building, as well as welcome the public into the nearly three-acre commons space with a visitors’ center, café, and outdoor dining. Amenities will include abundant gardens and trees, a number of spaces to support private and public events, casual dining courts, generous walkways and benches throughout. The street-level terrace will feature a performance stage framed around an existing specimen Oak, and open to a gently sloped event lawn that will comfortably accommodate 1,500. Cascading water features will bookend stairs leading up to the podium terrace, which will feature generous dining terraces and a small lawn to accommodate more intimate events. Renovated crosswalks will improve access and walkability.
In addition to the 3-acre South Garden, open space improvements to the 8-acre campus will include streetscape enhancements along the public right of way, exterior roof terraces, and the renovation of the central atrium in the historic south office building.
The city of Milwaukee has announced that tax incremental financing (TIF) funding generated by the project will be used to move forward with the Lakefront Gateway Project- it expects to pay $18 million to expand Lincoln Memorial Drive, create a boulevard on Clybourn Street, improve Michigan Street, and create a new pedestrian bridge to the lakefront.
Construction of the Tower and Commons is scheduled to begin in 2014 with completion anticipated in 2017.
The new Headquarters Commons will act as a connection between the downtown, the lakefront, and several iconic architectural sites adjacent, and create a significant new public space in the heart of Milwaukee.