By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 14, 2024 at 10:02 AM

The east end of Downtown is getting a new 4,000-square-foot convenience store, but not perhaps where you might expect.


The store will open in the lobby of Northwestern Mutual’s Commons building, 805 E. Mason St., in response to requests from employees, but it will be open to the public, too, weekdays from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The store is expected to offers snacks, grab-and-go food, beverages, gifts and household items, and will have a beverage bar with coffee, smoothies and juices, bakery items, soups, sandwiches, and even a meeting and collaboration space.


The public can access the store most easily via the Mason Street entrance.

It is expected to open by late autumn.


Also in the Commons lobby, the current Starbucks location will, in 2025, move in over to a space near Mason and Prospect, which will provide space for a larger cafe, a public entrance and outdoor seating on a patio.

The lobby re-jiggering will also find the Northwestern Mutual Credit Union will moving west in the Commons later this year.

A rendering shows how the North Office Building exterior will match its neighboring tower.

In the meantime, work continues to revamp the company’s 1990 North Office Building.

That $500 million interior and exterior makeover will help Northwestern Mutual move 2,000 employees Downtown from Franklin in coming years.

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.