Operation Fort: Thompson Business Center I & II
The partners of Thompson Avenue Ventures, LLC own over 1 million square feet of commercial real estate throughout the greater Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan market.  Two of their buildings (The Thompson Business Center) are located in West St. Paul.  Both buildings have an office and warehouse component with a combined 85,792 square feet.  The partners (who usually handle their own leasing) decided the vacancy rate at the Thompson Business Center was unacceptable, and that an aggressive marketing and sales approach was needed to fill the space.  They turned to Fort Inc’s president Jake Gerads to steer their investment in the right direction.
The commercial real estate market was beginning to feel the effects of the looming great recession. Economic uncertainly was causing potential prospects to extend their decision making timeline, reduce risk, and hold off expansion plans. With vacancy rates on the rise there were a number of properties with available spaces competing for the same sluggish user group.  Identifying the positive and negative attributes the Thompson Business Center had compared to the competing properties would be critical in creating an aggressive marketing and sales plan that attracted potential tenants.  Recruiting tenants looking to relocate in this great economic time of uncertainty, with a vast array of leasing options, was sure to be a challenge.
1. Identify competing properties while creating a marketing plan that highlights distinct value and softens weak property attributes.
2. Build relationships with key players specific to the surrounding market including:
Operation Fort Business leaders
Operation Fort Government officials
Operation Fort Commercial Real Estate brokers
3. Categorize and target existing businesses in the market that best fit the target user groups.
4. Recognize each businesses unique needs to create value through lease negotiations while positively differentiating the Thompson Business Center from its competitors.
Utilizing extensive market research and an aggressive marketing plan that differentiated the Thompson Business Center Jake was able to attract specific users requiring building amenities consistent with the properties distinct value. This aggressive and targeted approach resulted in signed leases with 14 new tenants who absorbed a combined 60,000 square feet of space throughout the period of time encompassing the great recession.
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