By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 30, 2022 at 10:16 AM

In 2019, American Family Insurance announced that it, in a joint venture with MB Acquisition LLC, would renovate and add to then 110-year-old, Henry Messmer-designed building at 1311 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. to provide office space in Downtown Milwaukee for 400 employees.

As you may have noticed, that did not come to pass, and now the company is listing the building – erected for the Wisconsin Lakes Ice & Cartage Co. in 1909 – for sale.

It did not disclose the listing price.

On Wednesday, American Family issued a statement on its plan for the building in the Haymarket Square neighborhood, just across the street from the Deer District.

“When the pandemic opened up options for how and where employees work, it meant American Family, like so many other companies, had to evaluate our real estate footprint and the space we need for the future,” said Kari Grasee, American Family vice president of business and workplace services.

“We’ve since developed a plan for our real estate portfolio, based on careful consideration of many factors such as business and space needs, lease terms and current building use.”

Now, Am Fam does not need as much office space in Downtown as it expected and is considering leasing space instead.

The company’s statement says that, “Alternate uses for the Milwaukee location were explored, including donating the building to a local nonprofit organization.”

“We continue to partner with key local organizations and Milwaukee-area universities and colleges to support youth and adults with gaining access to opportunities, with an emphasis on closing racial equity gaps while lifting and investing in community assets,” said Leana Nakielski, American Family director of community and social impact in Milwaukee, in the statement.

“We deeply value our partners and remain committed to driving positive societal impact well into the future.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.