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Northwestern Mutual Hires General Contractor for Signature Development on Milwaukee's Lakefront
Project committed to providing opportunities to local residents, small businesses

MILWAUKEE (April 16, 2014) – Northwestern Mutual today announced the selection of Gilbane Building Co. and C.G. Schmidt Inc. as the general contractor for construction of the 1.1 million-square-foot Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons on Milwaukee’s lakefront. With the naming of the partnership, additional vendors will now be hired to help reshape the city’s skyline.

“From day one, we wanted to find a general contractor that shares our core values and believes strongly in the commitment we’ve made to the city of Milwaukee to provide opportunities to local residents and small business enterprises,” said Sandy Botcher, Northwestern Mutual vice president and project leader. “We found that in Gilbane and C.G. Schmidt, and we’re excited to work side-by-side with them to make our vision a reality.”

Northwestern Mutual carefully vetted a broad range of general contractors that had the expertise and experience to manage a project of this size, according to Botcher. Construction of the 32-story office tower and three story common space is scheduled to start later this year and be completed by 2017. The project will require more than 1,000 construction-related jobs.

“Gilbane is honored to be selected as an integrated construction partner on this iconic addition to downtown Milwaukee,” said Adam R. Jelen, senior vice president of Gilbane Building’s Milwaukee office. “We believe our focus on the Milwaukee community, complementary values, and 141-year history will assist Northwestern Mutual’s project team in delivering a world-class facility.”

Gilbane and C.G. Schmidt share a strong relationship and history of working together.

“We are also honored to be a part of a project that will transform our hometown,” said Rick Schmidt, president and CEO of Milwaukee-based C.G. Schmidt. “Helping Northwestern Mutual meet their goals and making a positive impact on the community we’ve been a part of for 94 years is tremendously rewarding for C.G. Schmidt. This project will be monumental for Milwaukee.”

Northwestern Mutual expects to invest approximately $450 million for design and construction of the complex, which will preserve 1,100 downtown jobs while creating 1,900 new ones.

Proactive outreach to small businesses

Northwestern Mutual has already hired about 50 Wisconsin-based companies, including more than 30 local small business enterprises (SBEs), to help with a variety of roles related to the overall project. This includes renovation of the company’s Van Buren office building, designing elements of the Tower and Commons, demolishing an existing 16-story structure on the building site, and relocating utilities.

As the construction phase moves forward, the company is working with Hines, the project’s development manager, and Prism Technical, a business management company, to proactively communicate the opportunities that exist for additional SBEs to be involved in the project. Northwestern Mutual has committed to use SBEs for at least 25 percent of the total construction cost and Milwaukee residents for 40 percent of the hours on the construction site.

The company has already actively engaged with local chambers of commerce, industry representatives, and other community-based organizations to promote opportunities and enlist their support to meet the hiring goals. More than 100 community-based organizations have also been invited to an information forum at Northwestern Mutual. They will hear the latest updates on the project, meet the general contractor, and learn how to help give their constituents the opportunity to participate.

“It’s vital that the community be a partner as we create a signature development all of Milwaukee can be proud of,” said Botcher. “Partnering with local firms, SBEs and Milwaukee residents will help lead the way in creating even more jobs that will move our community forward.”

Botcher added that Hines and Prism will also be providing assistance to non-certified SBEs to pursue certification, a move that will continue to benefit SBEs long after the Tower and Commons is built.

More work coming on the project

Initial work will include selective demolition, concrete, steel, excavation, civil work, and earth retention, along with other earthwork, site utilities, foundations and superstructure. Support needs will include equipment rental, construction cranes, fencing, clean-up, flagmen, street cleaning, trucking, scaffolding, overhead protection, site dewatering, roadwork and trash removal.

Interested vendors can learn more about these opportunities by contacting:

Jodell Potter

Gilbane Building Co. with C.G. Schmidt Inc.

101 W. Pleasant St., Suite 104

Milwaukee, WI 53212

(414) 287-2600

For more information about the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons, please visit, where you can also join our email list, or follow the project on Twitter at @NM_MKE.

About Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has helped clients achieve financial security for 157 years. As a mutual company with $1.5 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them over time. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.


John Gardner, 1-800-323-7033