MAPLE GROVE, MN-Austin Mutual Insurance Co. is moving out to the suburbs, having broken ground on a 50,000-sf office here. The company is leaving 22,000 sf in the River Place complex in Downtown Minneapolis. Austin president and CEO Jeffrey Kusch tells that it’s costing about $9 million to build the new headquarters, and the company plans on building another 50,000-sf, $9-million speculative facility to lease out.

The 112-year-old insurance firm has hired Amcon Construction to begin the new facility along Highway 610, Kusch says. The company doesn’t have to be located Downtown to be viable, he says. “We wanted a home office that we could actually call home. We’ve been around a long time, but there’s no real reason for us to be Downtown, the suburbs offer a lot more flexibility and there’s no real need to incur the Downtown costs.”

He says he’s not sure how much he pays per month for his current lease, which is up in October, but that the firm will eventually save money when it isn’t paying rent. Also, the second building should help bring in revenue, Kusch says. “It’s going to depend on what the market bears for when we will build the second facility, we’re trying to get a read on the markets now. We’re hoping to build the other building within the next five years,” he says.

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