By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 08, 2016 at 8:50 AM

As heavy equipment continues to clear the site – including the Vermont, which is now officially history – Northwestern Mutual announced it has hired Fond du Lac-based C.D. Smith Construction to build the $100 million development at 777 N. Van Buren St.

The 34-story tower will include high-end residential units, parking and retail space. The plan was unveiled last October.

"We believe this project, like our Tower and Commons, will continue to fuel Milwaukee’s renaissance by drawing more jobs, businesses and residents to downtown," said Tom Zale, vice president and head of Northwestern Mutual Real Estate, in a statement today.

With the statement came some more renderings of the building – designed by architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz – all of which are included with this post.

Taking up nearly an entire city block, bounded back Mason and Wells, Jackson and Van Buren, the project includes 308 apartments and 14 penthouses, retail space on the ground floor and about 1,400 parking spots for residents, the public and NM employees. The building is located across the street from NM headquarters.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in late spring, and the building is expected to be ready for occupancy by spring 2018.

In the meantime, demolition continues on the site. And, of course, across the street, work on NM's new Northwestern Tower and Commons is moving forward. That project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.


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.