The marketing firm will move 220 employees to the building, which will be located at 1433 N. Water St. along the Milwaukee River, leasing 60,000 square feet on the first, second and part of the third floors.
“This has been a three-year journey and I am so happy to finally say we have news, and it is very exciting news,” said Bader Rutter CEO Greg Nickerson.
Nickerson said the move downtown isn’t about pleasing millennial employees, but creating a destination agency to attract talent across the country and clients worldwide.
“The majority of our revenue comes from clients who are not based here, a key element is to not be so myopic,” Nickerson said. “It’s about attracting the right kind of talent and the right kind of clients – here. We love Milwaukee. Our headquarters is here and we’re not moving to another city.”
Bader Rutter has been in the market for office space and has been considering plans to relocate to downtown Milwaukee since 2013. Nickerson said he was looking for a transformative space, that would fit the image of Bader Rutter. But nothing was right, until now.
“If we are going to do this – and all of the disruption that comes with it, we wanted a place that was iconic and unique, that’s what took us awhile,” he said. “We love the Laacke & Joys (project) because it’s a melding of old and new. It’s a nod to the past with a bigger eye to the future.”
Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners, purchased the site on Friday and will start pre-construction work on Tuesday.
“We are thrilled and honored that Bader Rutter chose us,” said Stewart Wangard, chief executive officer of Wangard Partners. “They are a firm with a long history of success and a leader in their industry.”
Wangard Partners is planning to create a 113,830-square-foot office building at the former Laacke & Joys site. The firm plans to tear down a four-story, 142-year-old building, and another building on the site, while keeping one four story building, built in 1930, according to plans submitted plans to the city. A new five-story office building would be built attached to the 1930 building, which would also be used as office space, according to the plans.
Bader Rutter’s office space in Bishops Woods is available for lease and will be available in May 2017. Nickerson said he plans to move the last week in April.
When Nickerson made the announcement to his staff around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon he said there was spontaneous applause.
“We’ve been telling the agency moving downtown was a possibility, but I have to say, the reaction was far more than I expected,” he said.