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Owner CBRE | Corporate Real Estate
Architect CBRE | Design Collective

Connecting Local Roots and Global Reach

Expertise, collaboration and flexibility distinguish Pepper’s approach in construction. These same qualities defined our successful completion of a 15,330-square-foot buildout that unites two main corporate divisions of CBRE in one showpiece space. Located at 790 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee, the new space houses CBRE’s Advisory Services and Global Workplace Solutions teams.

CBRE_milwaukee Front

After completing seven Midwest projects with CBRE over the past five years, Pepper was honored to be selected when the time came to create a new space for the firm in Milwaukee.

Creating a workplace experience

The move took the commercial real estate company from a longstanding spot in the US Bank Center to the 18th floor of the BMO Tower, a project Pepper completed in 2020. Pepper’s seventh interior buildout at the tower, CBRE’s new home delivers a next-gen workplace experience. Designed to enhance collaboration and support flexible work strategies, it brings CBRE teams together in “neighborhoods,” where they can freely interact in areas including a living room with comfortable seating for socializing and relaxing, a library, huddle rooms for small impromptu meetings, video conference rooms and workstations, as well as open cooperative sections and a wellness room. Virtual companion whiteboards and digital displays in common areas are among the latest technologies integrated to complement CBRE’s activity-based workplace. Nimble and proficient in risk management, the Pepper team kept key stakeholders informed and the project moving steadily to completion within four months of the construction start.

“Early in the project, we knew the client’s capacity to be involved was going to be a challenge for them, so we strategized about how we could help and built that into our process,” explains Teri Weinen, Sr. Project Manager, Pepper Construction. “Digitally monitoring milestones and monthly virtual information sharing were crucial to fostering a culture of trust and transparency. Because we made a consistent added effort on follow-up, for example, when plans didn’t match a fully-designed MEP set, we were able to avoid pitfalls that come from inaccuracies and assumptions that everyone is on the same page.”


High Performance is a high priority

Creating an environment that would improve CBRE’s ability to serve clients and be efficient and healthy for staff naturally led to the goal of achieving LEED certification. The team identified opportunities where we were able to go above and beyond in terms of LEED credits, demonstrating a shared commitment to the “why” behind certification rather than just the achievement.

For example, in addition to the category credits, the CBRE office received two Exemplary Performance credits. The first was for the Low-Emitting Materials credit, which only requires four materials categories to earn the credit. The project includes the following five:

  • paints and coatings
  • adhesives and sealants
  • flooring
  • walls
  • insulation

The second Exemplary Performance credit came from the Environmental Product Declarations credit, which includes products whose manufacturers have disclosed their products potential environmental and human-health impacts. Here, 10 materials are required to achieve the credit. The CBRE office has 26.5.

Finally, Building Product Disclosure Optimization - Material Ingredient Reporting focuses on products and materials that have environmentally, economically and socially preferable life-cycle impacts. Although the CBRE project maxed out its exemplary performance credits, the team still incorporated 33 materials although only 10 were required.

Cream City

Providing a taste of Cream City

Adding to the distinctive atmosphere is a cream-brick feature in the lobby crafted from locally sourced material. Spotlighting cream-colored bricks first discovered and produced in Milwaukee in the 19th century, the feature pays heed to the city’s nickname, “The Cream City.” The color comes from high amounts of clay found in the Milwaukee River Valley and Greater Milwaukee area and used to produce the bricks.

“The space celebrates the unique character of the city.” says Teri. “It also demonstrates Pepper's commitment to delivering office interiors that work for our clients.”