Downtown bags Roundy's
Here's food for thought for a Monday. How big of a testament is it to Milwaukee's downtown rebirth when nation's eighth largest grocery wholesaler decides to phase out two suburban locations in favor of one 120,000-sq. ft. space with views of the Milwaukee Art Museum? Answer: huge.
Mayor John Norquist and other city officials formally welcomed Roundy's today as the company announced plans to move nearly 500 employees from several locations to offices in the sparkly, new 875 East Wisconsin Building. The move gives Roundy's the advantage of combining employees from Pewaukee, Wauwatosa and Milwaukee's south side.
Roundy's has a long history in Milwaukee and its corporate headquarters was a mainstay in the Third Ward for more than 80 years before it moved in 1954. Smith, Roundy and Co. was established in 1872 on the corner of Clyborn and Water Streets, then moved to 241 N. Broadway in the Third Ward, before moving to Wauwatosa in 1954. Mayor Norquist called the move, "a most welcome homecoming."
"Our new 875 East Wisconsin Ave. address gives us the square footage we need and will provide a great working environment for our employees," said Robert Mariano, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Roundy's. "We are choosing a location that's surrounded by amazing amenities like the Milwaukee Art Museum, Cathedral Square, the downtown Theater District, Riverwalk, dining and nightlight. All are within walking distance, which is a tremendous recruiting advantage," added Mariano, taking a page out of the mayor's and new economy guru Richard Florida's books.
The building, a project of Irgens Development Partners, LLC, is currently under construction and will be ready for occupancy on October 1.
Roundy's leadership and employees were notified in a morning staff meeting and via e-mail. Reaction to move, within corporate walls, was mainly positive, but company officials admitted, "there were questions on timing, and of course, parking."
Other tenants in the building will include Artisan Partners and C.G. Schmidt.
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