In the midst of a global pandemic, when many are still working from home and some companies even question the need for commercial office space, Northwestern Mutual – Fort Worth recently signed a 10-year extension on their lease to acquire the entire top floor of the Summit Office Park in Fort Worth.
“We were glad our lease agreement and move were already in process before the pandemic hit the U.S.,” said Jason Luce, managing director of Northwestern Mutual – Fort Worth. “When chaos happens, people look for stability and our advisors were able to safely work with clients as we followed the CDC protocols. We knew from experience (2008 - 2010) that we needed to be prepared for growth. While someone might have an insurance agent or a money manager, they quickly realize when their world gets turned upside down that what they really need is a comprehensive financial planner. Our new clients were up almost 50% Year over Year in 2020 compared to 2019.”
Northwestern Mutual – Fort Worth’s new office, on the eighth floor of the Summit building, features elevator lobby exposure for a 15,253-square-foot space.
Despite the disruptions COVID caused in manufacturing and logistics, Milestone Construction completed the project on time. In fact, several manufacturers completely shut down and Milestone had to scramble to find suppliers who could create some of the custom features.
Since the elevators open directly into Northwestern Mutual’s lobby, a unique door system had to be built in Germany. Two columns set on either side of the entryway contain hidden glass panels that are deployed to secure the space after office hours.
There are four large corner suites with 27 additional perimeter offices and a boardroom on the glass. Milestone designed glass panels beside the doors on each perimeter office to allow maximum light to flow into the interior spaces, creating an open and airy environment.
“Peter Kavanaugh, the general contractor, is just the best there is,” said Luce. “He was on top of every detail. Milestone brought great insight and expertise when we ran into unavoidable obstacles. There just isn’t any other team we would ever choose!”
Five smaller conference rooms, a training room accommodating approximately 40 people in a classroom configuration, an expanded break room and interior open cubicles to allow for growth, are all configured within the space. The entire floor features contemporary classic-style furnishings.
“Northwestern Mutual was previously located on the second floor of 1300 Summit,” explained Craig Jones, Senior Vice-President of Fischer & Company, who negotiated the lease. “Jason’s preference was that he wanted to stay close to the downtown area, but not in the heart of it. When the top floor of 1300 Summit became available, Jason wanted to explore how it could work for their long-term purposes. The location is ideal for them with easy access to I-30 and abundant parking, including reserved visitor parking.”
Financial services meetings with clients have historically been held in confidential settings behind closed doors. While they are ideally conducted in-person, Northwestern Mutual – Fort Worth quickly adapted so advisors could meet electronically with their clients.
“When everything initially shut down last March, everyone shifted to working from home,” stated Luce. “As soon as we could gather at 50-percent capacity, we welcomed everyone back who wanted to come into the office. There are still advantages to working together in a communal space. We adapted 40 percent of our conference rooms into Zoom rooms, creating a dedicated environment conducive to online meetings. About 30-to-40 percent of our clients are electing to come into the office to meet in-person now. Of course, we practice social distancing and follow all safety protocols.”
In the past 24 months, Luce has also opened a Mansfield/Arlington office and renewed & expanded their office in Amarillo. He expects to open additional offices in the future as the business grows.
Northwestern Mutual has been helping people and businesses achieve financial security for more than 160 years. Through a holistic planning approach, Northwestern Mutual combines the expertise of its financial professionals with a personalized digital experience and industry-leading products to help its clients plan for what's most important. With $290.3 billion in total assets, $29.9 billion in revenues, and $1.9 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.6 million people with life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services. The company manages more than $161 billion of investments owned by its clients and held or managed through its wealth management and investment services businesses. Northwestern Mutual ranks 102 on the 2020 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2020.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM)(life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries in Milwaukee, WI. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (investment brokerage services), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (investment advisory and trust services), a federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company.