Olson Moves to Ford Center, Consolidates Operations

The move will put all 300 of the agency's local employees under one roof and allow "breathing room" for future expansion.

Minneapolis-based ad agency Olson earlier this week signed a long-term lease to occupy 125,000 square feet of space in the soon-to-be renovated Ford Center, an 11-story building located in Minneapolis' Warehouse District.

According to Olson CEO Kevin DiLorenzo, the move will consolidate the company's two offices, one of which was added last summer when Olson acquired Denali Marketing-which now operates as a subsidiary called Olsondenali.

DiLorenzo told Twin Cities Business that the firm looked at several spaces in Minneapolis before ultimately deciding on the Ford Center.

“We quickly fell in love with the Ford Center and the potential of the space,” DiLorenzo said.

The company's 300 employees will move to its new offices at the end of the year once renovations on the 267,000-square-foot building are completed. DiLorenzo said that the new space not only consolidates operations, but that it also allows for some “breathing room” for future expansion. DiLorenzo said that the firm does not have immediate plans for major expansion at its headquarters, but is doing “routine hiring.”

Olson also has a combined 100 employees at its two other offices in Chicago and Toronto.

The Ford Center, previously called the Ford Centre, is undergoing a $40 million renovation-which includes new mechanical systems, restrooms, and elevators. The building will also get restored windows, and its Fifth Street entrance will be redesigned.

Last fall, HGA Architects and Engineers announced that it signed a 12-year lease for 80,000 square feet in the Ford Center. HGA, which plans to move into the building this summer and is serving as the architect on the renovations, will join current tenant Caldrea, which now occupies about 27,000 square feet of space. Once Olson officially moves in, the building will be 90 percent occupied.

United Properties, which owns the Ford Center, last year received historic renovation design approval from the National Park Service and the Minneapolis Historic Preservation Commission. The City of Minneapolis Planning Commission also approved an addition as part of the center's renovations.

Olson bills itself as one of the top 10 independent, full-service agencies in North America. It is among the state's 10-largest ad agencies based on its 2009 net revenue, which totaled $16.7 million, and is among the largest PR firms based on its 2009 net fee income of $3.7 million.

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