Downtown Milwaukee skyscraper unveiled

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Downtown Milwaukee skyscraper unveiled

By Jaclyn Brandt and Jonah Kaplan. CREATED Sep 25, 2013

MILWAUKEE - The skyline of Milwaukee is about to get a facelift. Wednesday morning, Northwestern Mutual unveiled plans for a new downtown skyscraper.

The building that is getting a makeover was built in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and stands 16 stories high. The new tower is double the size.

Chairman John Schlifske hopes Northwestern Mutual's next tower stands on three ideals: reflect the company's stature, show commitment to Milwaukee, and further beautify the lakefront.

"To conceive, design, and construct an architectural on a site among the most beautiful in the country - that's something we'll be proud of," Schlifske explained.

The tower will rise more than 500 feet, with its surrounding areas spanning one million square feet. It may one day hold up to 3,000 employees.

The nearly-$500 million project also earned some tax breaks from the city, but leaders call it an invaluable investment.

"It's a big tax base for the city,” Schlifske added. “Employees come to entertainment, restaurants and buy condominiums in downtown Milwaukee."

Before the new tower goes up, the old one must come down. Demolition starts in December, and construction will begin next year. The tower is expected to be completed in 2017.