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Northwestern Mutual Wants New Building to Bring New Thinking

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Managers of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company hope a new building at the company’s headquarters complex in Milwaukee will help the company reinvent itself.

The 160-year-old policyholder-owned life insurer today celebrated the grand opening of the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons building.

(Related: Northwestern Mutual Names Transformation Chief)

The designers of the 1.1 million-square-foot building did what they could to use architecture, landscaping and caffein to promote openness.

Pickard Chilton, the architect, gave the building glass walls that let the light shine in.

The three acres of gardens surrounding the building are open to the public.

The Starbucks in the lobby is also open to the public.

Employees and visitors who go up to the 32nd floor of the Tower will see panoramic views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan.

Northwestern Mutual ended 2016 with $250 billion in assets and $28 billion in annual revenue. Like other life insurers, it’s facing pressure from low interest rates and changes in the financial services sector.

John Schlifske, the company’s chairman, said in a statement that the new headquarters building is part of an effort to shift the company “from being the best life insurance company to being the best financial security company.”

Northwestern Mutual wants to use the new building to keep its financial representative network, and to add a strong digital platform, the company said.

Northwestern Mutual expects to move 2,400 employees into the building from other company buildings in Milwaukee and in nearby Franklin, Wisconsin.

— Read Mutuals Back NAIFA State-Level Lobbying Effort on ThinkAdvisor.