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Fiserv, Inc. will move corporate headquarters from Brookfield to downtown Milwaukee

The move aims to make Milwaukee one of the largest financial tech hubs in the Midwest

Fiserv employees participate in a meeting. The company will move its corporate headquarters from Brookfield to downtown Milwaukee. Courtesy of Fiserv

Global financial tech company Fiserv, Inc. will open its new state-of-the-art corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee, aiming to add 250 jobs over five years.

While the company, along with state and city officials, made the announcement Thursday, the projected $40 million investment is contingent upon financial incentives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the city of Milwaukee, according to Fiserv.

Milwaukee plans to create a tax increment finance district to provide $7 million dollars for the project, according to Milwaukee City Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump. Meanwhile, WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said the state is planning to offer Fiserv tax credits, but couldn’t disclose the amount of financial help it plans to provide.

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Officials said financial technology is a fast-growing sector of the state’s economy and the move will help make Milwaukee one of the biggest financial tech hubs in the Midwest.

Beth Weirick, CEO for Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District 21, said Fiserv will be a catalyst for additional investment downtown.

“Fiserv’s decision really confirms that Milwaukee is, in fact, a high-tech destination for people who choose to live, work and play,” she said. “I really think that our pipeline for workforce is only going to continue to grow and strengthen over the years, particularly as companies like Fiserv make this level of commitment to the city.”

The headquarters, which will be located at 640 Vel R. Phillips Ave., in Milwaukee’s historic Westown neighborhood, is planned to feature 160,000 square feet of space. That includes a client meeting and conference center, collaboration spaces, culinary programming and more.

Fiserv’s move to Milwaukee is anticipated for 2023, while the company has been based in Brookfield since 1992.

The company says all new jobs will be based in the Milwaukee campus. Officials from Fiserv did not immediately respond to Wisconsin Public Radio’s requests for comment.

In a press release, Fiserv President and CEO Frank Bisignano said the company has deep roots in Wisconsin and is proud to expand its investment in the state. He said the new headquarters aims to be a hub for collaboration and innovation.

“As part of our investment in this new Fiserv global headquarters, we look forward to being a force for good, as we create positive and meaningful impact and grow our presence in the increasingly vibrant downtown Milwaukee community,” Bisignano said.

Fiserv’s planned move comes as the Westown neighborhood has seen investment and growth from projects like the Wisconsin Convention Center expansion, the new home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Avenue with its food hall and businesses and the almost-finished Milwaukee Tool offices.

“We’re so thrilled that Fiserv really views Milwaukee as the place to be for the energy, the creativity, the focus on technology and … where they can attract the level of talent that they need,” Weirick said.

In addition, a rapid transit bus line will soon begin operation on Wisconsin Avenue and will provide expanded public transit options for Fiserv’s workforce and visitors, officials said.

“Fiserv adds to the forward momentum of downtown Milwaukee, where their name already boasts a rich presence at Fiserv Forum, the home of the Milwaukee Bucks,” Crump said in a statement. “The city is looking forward to Fiserv and its employees bringing talent, commitment, and investment to Milwaukee.”

He told WPR that Fiserv’s decision helps illustrate how downtowns can still thrive post-pandemic, and shows that companies are confident about Milwaukee’s potential.

“It’s a real endorsement, also of the Milwaukee workforce and people who want to be in Milwaukee over the next 10 (to) 15 years,” Crump said.

In terms of the city’s financial incentives, Crump said any project that receives over $1 million from the city is required to allocate 25 percent of construction funds and 18 percent of professional service dollars to small businesses, as well as ensure 40 percent of the construction workforce are Milwaukee residents.

“Additionally, in order to get the full $7 million, they will have to hit certain job targets as well for a number of people that they’re actually putting into that office,” he said.

According to Hughes, the negotiations with Fiserv were a collaborative effort between the city of Milwaukee, WEDC and Gov. Tony Evers.

In a statement, Evers said he was “pleased” that the company was expanding its commitment to Wisconsin. He described Fiserv as “precisely the type of innovation-driven company we want and can well support in our state.”

“The company’s decision to expand here says volumes about our talented and plentiful tech workforce known for its next-level skills, nimbleness and work ethic,” Evers said. “I am grateful to Mr. Bisignano and the entire Fiserv team for the company’s investment in Wisconsin.”

Hughes echoed the governor’s sentiments. In a statement, she said the move helps the state plant its flag in the digital economy of the future.

“Fiserv’s products and solutions are emblematic of Wisconsin’s important role in the global economy,” Hughes said. “Companies like Fiserv are driving job growth and prosperity statewide. We are thrilled that Fiserv’s next chapter will be written right here in Wisconsin.”

She told WPR that Fiserv’s corporate headquarters will help make Milwaukee a tech hub through the type of workers it brings to the city, as well as by helping to attract other companies.

“There’s already a lot happening there, but this will really push it over the edge,” Hughes said of Milwaukee’s tech sector.

The organizations MKE Tech Hub Coalition and Milky Way Tech Hub have played a major role in helping to shape Milwaukee’s tech sector and to attract educated workers, Crump said.

He believes Fiserv’s commitment to Milwaukee will help reinforce those efforts.

“That tells other companies that are growing, that this is a place that they might want to consider either staying, growing or starting in,” Crump said. “And it also tells people who are in the tech space in terms of their career, that Milwaukee and Wisconsin are a location that they ought to consider.”

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in a statement that the city is the “ideal location” for Fiserv’s new headquarters, which will add to the positive energy in the center of Milwaukee.

“This is what the power of partnerships is all about,” he said. “I welcome Fiserv and the hundreds of employees coming to Westown.”