MINNEAPOLIS—Office users throughout the US have been abandoning the suburbs for the CBDs in their respective cities, and that trend may also have arrived in Minneapolis. Aimia Inc., for example, has just decided to move its US headquarters from suburban Plymouth to downtown’s Butler Square. The global loyalty management company will occupy 50,000-square-feet on the entire seventh floor and a portion of the sixth floor in the historic 9-story building.
“If you look back on the history of Minneapolis, you’d see that these types of firms would typically move out of downtown,” Jon Dahl, a senior vice president with JLL in Minneapolis, tells GlobeSt.com. “There was very little in-migration.”
But in the last five years or so, the flow has reversed. “It hasn’t been the same steady flow that you see in cities like Chicago,” he adds. Still, a diverse set of suburban firms occupy perhaps another 100,000-square-feet of downtown space each quarter. “Minneapolis is not primarily known as a tech center, and although there have been a couple of creative firms, this year we’ve seen all kinds come into the city including accounting firms and law firms as well as tech companies.”
Jim Freytag of CBRE represented Aimia and Dahl and Ann Rinde of JLL represented Butler Square. The parties could not disclose any further details about the lease. MSR Architecture and McGough have been retained for the interior design and renovation work, respectively, that will soon begin to prepare the space for the arrival of Aimia in early 2015.
Dahl ties the downtown’s increasing popularity with office users to the completion of Target Field, the home field of the Minnesota Twins, the on-going expansion of mass transportation options, and the huge growth in residential communities. Restaurants and many other entertainment options have sprung up, partly to serve all of the new residents, and this has changed the CBDs character, giving it a big advantage over the suburbs. “When you are downtown, you can eat at a different restaurant every day of the year,” he says.
“Aimia wanted to come downtown and make a splash and become more public,” Dahl adds. “And Butler Square sits near Target Field right in the middle of the sports and entertainment district.” But the company also wanted more than just a good location. “They looked at all property types, but decided that a brick-and-timber style was the best fit.” And Butler Square, completed in 1906, combines historic ambiance with up-to-date features. For example, it’s the first century-old multi-tenant building in the nation to receive a LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Aimia to Butler Square,” says Jane Mauer, owner of Butler Properties, LLC. “They share our passion for sustainability and their employees will bring even more creativity and energy to downtown Minneapolis.”
In Plymouth, the company occupies converted flex industrial space, but the surrounding area has few amenities. Butler Square, Dahl says, “represents a pretty dramatic shift.”