Wausau’s economic development committee gave a tentative nod Tuesday to a new office complex for Liberty Mutual Insurance. At $50 million, the project would be more than double the property value of the Dudley Tower, making it the most expensive single building project in city history, says Wausau Interim Community Development Director Christian Schock.
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Speaking to Wausau officials Tuesday, Liberty Mutual Vice President of Workplace Management Joanne Bragg said the company is committed to keeping its Wausau jobs here.
The 150,000 square foot building planned for 2101 West Bridge Street would house the company’s more than 900 employees, according to public documents.
Liberty Mutual recently sold its iconic, three-building complex at 2000 Westwood Dr. to Aspirus. That structure—built in the late 1960s as the new company headquarters for Wausau Insurance and once housing 3,000 employees— is still being used by Liberty until its new building is complete. The company, based in Boston, acquired Wausau Insurance in 1999 and in 2009 discontinued the Wausau Insurance brand. At that time it employed around 1,400 people in Wausau.
Liberty Mutual is requesting nearly $5 million in tax incentives for the new office building because rocks and other topography make construction a challenge. That money would come from taxes generated and is not a loan, Schock says. In return, the company agrees to maintain employment levels or forfeit some or all of the incentives, according to city documents.
Liberty Mutual is a Fortune 100 company with 55,000 employees in 800 offices worldwide. The company is committed to keeping its Wausau jobs in Wausau, says Joanne Bragg, Liberty Mutual vice president of workplace management. Salaries average $60,000 with benefits such as flexible work schedules and paid time to volunteer for charities, Bragg says.
The building would generate $10.5 million in taxes for the city over 15 years, Bragg says. Construction could begin this year and be complete by January 2019.