Major changes may come for Milwaukee's skyline, freeway system

CREATED Dec 6, 2012

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MILWAUKEE - You could see a new skyscraper in downtown Milwaukee, and you may find a new way to get there.

Organizers have announced two separate meetings involving planned changes.  One has to do with a major downtown employer, while the other has to do with I-94.

The first was to happen at Northwestern Mutual's complex in downtown Milwaukee.

There are plans to tear down a 16-story office tower there and replace it with a building twice its size, and nearly twice as tall.

It would include 840,000 of space and rise about 30 stories.

The current building, built in 1979, faces extensive, long term maintenance costs, and the company plans to grow.

Northwestern Mutual has 3,600 employees working downtown, but it wants to add another 1,600 workers downtown in the next 10 to 15 years.

City officials and Northwestern Mutual executives planned to come together for an 11:00 a.m. news conference.

Then, at 4:00 p.m., a public meeting was to take place at Marquette University about renovating a three-mile stretch of I-94 from 25th Street to 70th Street.

Crews built that stretch in the 1960's, and it has become outdated.

One idea would have crews widen the interstate from six to eight lanes, but many people are concerned about homes, businesses and cemetery graves to be replaced in the process.

Another idea involves downtown tunnels or a double-decker freeway.