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MINNEAPOLIS-In a happy surprise for the Downtown office market, fast-growing Capella Education Co. has signed a new lease for more than 90,000 sf of office space in the Campbell Mithun Tower that it had planned to exit.

The online education company recently renewed a long-term lease at the 41-story tower despite having already moved hundreds of employees to the 225 South Sixth tower in Downtown, where it occupies about 200,000 sf.

As it turns out, the company grew so fast that it decided to keep its space and extend the lease, Montez says. “This was top-line office space that no one expected they would fill; it was a very nice surprise,” Montez says. “It speaks to the vitality of the central business district.”

The company’s lease at Campbell Mithun Tower had been set to expire late this fall, says Jim Montez, a senior associate for Bloomington-based United Properties and one of the brokers who handles leasing at Campbell Mithun Tower. Montez described the lease as “long-term,” but says his client does not want any details of the lease disclosed.

Although the company’s headquarters will be at 225 S. Sixth St., it will house its sales support staff at Campbell Mithun, Montez says. In April, the for-profit education company announced plans for an $86-million public-stock offering. Capella said in its prospectus that as of March 31, 2005 it offered more than 675 online courses and 13 academic programs with 68 specializations to more than 12,700 students. The company had revenues of $117.7 million last year, according to the filing.

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