Northwestern Mutual announces plans to leave Franklin, expand downtown Milwaukee campus

Northwestern Mutual announced a $500 million investment in downtown Milwaukee on Thursday. At its completion, 2,000 of the company’s Franklin campus employees will work at the downtown Milwaukee campus.

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“I work down there (Milwaukee) half the time, I work down here (Franklin) half the time, both are great places to work, but downtown it’s just beautiful,” said Ken Schuh.

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Schuh works for Northwestern Mutual and told WISN 12 News he is looking forward to the transition.

Plans for the downtown Milwaukee project include a renovated tower and a pedestrian plaza.

“Brand new tower down there, or relatively new, and the new building that they’re talking about looks terrific, so it’s really nice,” Schuh said.

The expansion may come at the city of Franklin’s expense.

Franklin is home to an 84-acre Northwestern Mutual campus where 2,000 of its employees work. The announcement that the campus will eventually be vacated came as a shock to city of Franklin officials that told WISN 12 News they found out Wednesday night.

“I can’t speak on behalf of the entire council, but what I can do is I can share my individual reaction. And it would be I was surprised. I was concerned and I was disappointed,” said city of Franklin District 1 Alderman Ed Holpfer.

Holpfer said the move out of Franklin will be a financial hit to the city.

“We just closed our TID district, the financing mechanism on this last year. And so now all of the tax revenue flows to the appropriate taxing authorities, and now we’re at risk of losing or diminishing that. And that’s a concern to me, because then the question is how do we continue to fund the services we offer our citizens at that level?” Holpfer said.

Holpfer told WISN 12 News reporter Kendall Keys he hopes the current campus does not sit empty for long once Northwestern Mutual moves out.

“How do we replace those funds or are we looking at cuts? We don’t know that yet,” Holpfer said.

Northwestern Mutual officials said the transition will take about three to five years for everyone to relocate to downtown Milwaukee.

READ MORE:Northwestern Mutual announces plans to leave Franklin, expand downtown Milwaukee campus

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