Perrill (formerly First Scribe) is a full-service digital agency providing creative, development, and digital marketing solutions for growth-minded organizations. As one of Minnesota’s longest operating and most premier agencies, Perrill has designed, developed, and marketed over 700 websites for companies such as Puma, Erbert & Gerbert’s, Park Dental, Greiner Construction, TruStone Financial, and more.
For the past ten years, Perrill had operated out of a 5,300 square foot suite at Carlson Center East I, a 3-story office building located within the Carlson Center campus in Minnetonka. They liked the property they were in – it had underground parking, a fitness center, a beautiful 2-story lobby, and views overlooking a scenic wetland. But the company was outgrowing their space and still had lease term remaining.
Jay Perrill, Perrill’s President and Founder, recognized early on that the company’s success was leading to growth in company size — not just financially, but physically. “We hired five new team members last year and seven more team members this year,” says Jay. “Our staff was literally working elbow-to-elbow.” Based on this rapid growth as well as to prepare for future growth, staying in the same space was no longer an option.
The Networking Group
Jay met Cory Miller from Ackerberg in 2003. The two were a part of a networking group made up of a variety of business owners and people from around the Twin Cities. The group met weekly to give presentations about their company, exchange ideas, and share business referrals.
Cory’s background as a CFO and a CEO meant that Jay and Cory had similar career experiences. In fact, it was Cory who helped Jay move Perrill into Carlson Center East 1 over ten years ago and expand his office space. As the relationship developed, the two trusted each other and worked on several transactions together for Perrill.
As Jay’s company continued to ramp up its operations, acquire larger clients, and increase its workforce with more highly skilled digital and business experts, it became time to enlist Cory’s brokerage services once again.
“I wanted clients to walk into our lobby and conference room and instantly recognize that this is a cutting-edge company,” Jay recalls. “However, at the same time, the space needed to be comfortable for the people working here, which meant big windows to provide lots of natural light and an energetic feel. We also needed an open floor plan so that staff could easily move around, huddle for quick meetings, and continue to add team members as the company grows. It was a tall order.”
Scouring the Twin Cities
Cory was up for the challenge, and Jay had a team of employees on the selection committee. In spring of 2018, Cory started to look for available space in the Minneapolis Central Business District (CBD). Many of the spaces were large enough and had digital capabilities, but – as is often the case in the CBD – finding sufficient parking was a problem.
Next Cory searched along the 394 corridor which is a hot office market and offers many of the same amenities as a CBD location. There were great options available for lease, and a Request for Proposal was made for one of the buildings.
An Unexpected Occurrence
In the fall of 2018, something unexpected happened. One of the tenants in Carlson Center East I was moving out at the end of the year and leaving a 16,000 square feet office space available for lease.
“It was quite serendipitous,” says Jay. “It had the basic updated look we wanted, plenty of natural light with nice views, and the previous tenant wanted to sell their furniture — both offering large cost savings to Perrill. Adding a few bells and whistles, a couple of modifications, and the space had great potential.”
Negotiating the Lease
One of the setbacks to the space was that 16,000 square feet was more than Perrill initially needed. To solve this problem, Cory negotiated with the landlord at Carlson to tear up the old lease and write a new lease for an extended term.
The new lease was a ‘stair-step lease.’ This is an agreement that denotes the square feet initially under lease is not the full 16,000 square feet, and the square feet leased increases at specific intervals on the front end of the lease. This way, Perrill has access to the full space, and as employees are added to the company, the company leases more space until it is 100% leased.
“The stair-step lease is a great tool for growing companies who need to defer rent expenses to support company growth,” Cory explains. “It allows tenants the ability to add employees and rent more space as needed. This type of lease allows clients to invest in the right resources for company growth and long-term success. Keep in mind, as in all leases, the tenant’s credit is closely reviewed and must support the additional risk by the landlord.”
Another unique feature is the huge digital display in the front lobby that plays a montage of Perrill’s portfolio and work. The screen can be customized to play a visiting customer’s website or creative look.
Looking Towards the Future
In the end, Perrill went from 5,300 to 16,000 square feet – an upgrade three times the size of their previous office space. The move was simply from one suite to another on the same floor, saving money that Perrill could invest into interior design, system upgrades, and digital displays to give the space its huge ‘wow’ factor.
“Our industry requires we attract top talent from a variety of fields – social media, digital strategy, web development, software engineers,” Jay explains. “It’s important that our space be indicative of who we are as a company and support our hiring needs.”
Cory was happy to help create a leasing structure that suited Perrill’s growth as a company. “They incorporated a well thought out strategy to use their space to position themselves as a strong industry leader. I appreciate the way Jay values his employees and their contributions. He wants to provide an office space that will help them succeed as well.
Perrill will host an open house on October 10, 2019, to give vendors, customers and guests a chance to tour their new space, see their new digital technology, and launch the company’s updated brand.
Cory J. Miller, CCIM
“My focus is the small to mid-sized companies who need help with real estate leasing, marketing, investing or who just have a question about an office or industrial property. They receive sound solutions, workable strategies and a positive memorable experience. This level of service has 70% of my business now generated as repeat or referral based business. You can become one of my clients who experiences honesty, integrity and value, when you utilize my services.”