Upward and onward
Waukesha County companies help with Northwestern Mutual project construction

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Aug. 6, 2015

 An aerial perspective recently taken of the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons building site in Milwaukee.  
Photo courtesy of Brian Mitchell of Choice Construction

MILWAUKEE - For 25 days, 20 trucks belonging to Tremmel-Anderson Trucking carried away dirt from the site of the future Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons in downtown Milwaukee. Each truck averaged seven to 10 loads per day filled with 14 cubic yards of material per load.

Sussex-based Tremmel-Anderson Trucking owner Theresa Tremmel-Anderson said it felt good to have her company’s previous work recognized and to be selected as one of about five dozen Wisconsin-based companies to work on the 32-story structure at Cass and Mason streets.

“For the high-profile projects you want to bring in the A-team,” she said.

Other large Milwaukee area projects Tremmel-Anderson Trucking has worked on include the Bradley Center and the Marquette Interchange.

“It’s always fun to drive around and say I built that and I did this,” Tremmel-Anderson said.

 Work is moving along quickly at the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons with crews currently working on installing the steel framing.  
Submitted photo

Anticipated to be completed by the end of 2017, crews are currently constructing the frame for the tower and commons, said Senior Public Relations Consultant John Gardner. The steel frame is being installed and the structure “is going up at a very fast rate,” he said. The entire project is anticipated to cost about $450 million.

Brian Mitchell, owner of Choice Construction Companies Inc. in Menomonee Falls, has about 40 employees on site putting in the steel. The Northwestern Mutual project isn’t the only significant Milwaukee project Choice Construction is currently working on - it has contracts as well for the Hoan Bridge and Zoo Interchange. It’s also working on installing structural steel for a bridge in Oconomowoc. 

Choice Construction crews have been on site of the Northwestern Mutual project since February and Mitchell anticipates they will be there until spring 2016.  He said Choice installed all of the rebar for the enormous 20-hour Northwestern Mutual foundation concrete pour in April, which was the largest continuous concrete pour in the history of Wisconsin. Choice Construction placed 1,300 tons of rebar by working 12 hours a day for 28 straight days. Harris Rebar in the City of Pewaukee fabricated the rebar.

“Of course this is a structure that is going to change the whole skyline and we are really happy to be part of it,” Mitchell said.

Having recently moved to the Milwaukee area from Madison, Mitchell said working on these significant projects help to give him a sense of community.

 The future Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons is shown from Cass and Mason streets in downtown Milwaukee. The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2017.  
Submitted rendering

As part of the project, Northwestern Mutual has pledged to use Milwaukee residents through the Resident Preference Program for 40 percent of the hours worked on the project. The company has also vowed to pay 25 percent of project costs for work done by small business enterprises. By the end of the third quarter of 2014, small business enterprises in Milwaukee were awarded $92.7 million in contracts and commitments, or 27.9 percent of the total value of applicable construction and professional services contracts to date.

By June 30, Northwestern Mutual had exceeded both the 25 percent SBE and 40 percent RPP thresholds. Northwestern Mutual has also reached out to more than 100 community-based organizations to guarantee that a diverse group of people would be involved in the project.

 The Grand Hall inside the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons is depicted. The entire project is expected to cost about $450 million. 
Submitted rendering

As a woman who owns a business, Tremmel-Anderson said she appreciated Northwestern Mutual’s commitment to hire more minority-owned companies. Choice Construction is another one of the minority-owned businesses Northwestern Mutual selected.

The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons will be a significant part of downtown Milwaukee when completed. The tower will have 32 stories and be 550 feet tall, making it the second tallest building in the state and largest building occupied by one company in the city.

 The Northwestern Mutual Tower is expected to take its place in the Milwaukee skyline by 2017. 
Submitted rendering

The Commons will be three stories tall, have public dining, a visitors center and community access. For updates on the project, go to www.northwesternmutual.com/BuildingMKE.

By the numbers

1,000 construction-related created jobs through 2017
1,900 new jobs brought to the city
1,100 jobs retained downtown
5 dozen Wisconsin-based contractors hired for the project
32-story structure with 1.1 million square feet
25 percent of project costs to be paid for work done by small business enterprises
40 percent of the hours worked on the project done by Milwaukee residents

Source: Northwestern Mutual



Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com