Taking cue from downtown office towers, this industrial park brings the fun and games to campus
Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, September 6, 201
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Across downtown Minneapolis, office tenants have been battling in bags tournaments, sipping cocktails at building-wide happy hours and even playing Nintendo over bowls of cereal.
The idea is that the companies can use the fun programming in their building to help keep and attract new employees in a tight labor market.
That tight labor market also extends to the manufacturing sector, and Northern Stacks, a 1.8 million-square-foot industrial park in Fridley, has taken a page from the downtown office market’s playbook.
Owners Hyde Development and M.A. Mortenson Co. have hired The Musicant Group to create a community management platform for the roughly 1,200 workers at Northern Stacks. Musicant is the same Minneapolis company behind the lawn-game heavy Turf Club at the SPS Tower and the cereal bar and Nintendo projector at the former TCF atrium building, 801 Marquette. The firm has also organized in-building farmers markets and outdoor yoga for its clients.
“The goal was to bring the same amenity package you get in an office building to an industrial building,” said Paul Hyde, CEO of Minneapolis-based Hyde Development.
Musicant surveyed Northern Stacks tenants and learned that employees wanted better food options and they also wanted to have a better sense of community with their neighboring tenants.
The programming started a month ago with Musicant bringing in food trucks every Friday.
“People have expressed a desire for more food options because they find themselves further out of downtown, so there aren’t quite as many options available,” said Musicant Community Manager Samatha Trelstad.
Tenants have tried over the years to get the trucks to come out, but couldn’t promise them a campus of 1,200 people and an email blast to all employees in the business park.
“So far, with the trucks, it’s just been letting the truck owners know about the population of the site, and they’ve been willing to come and give it a shot,” Trelstad said.
Up next is an NFL pick-em league, a happy hour that rotates through some of the employers’ spaces, lawn games, a potluck and volunteer drives. Hyde said he’s got three companies interested in opening a brewery in Northern Stacks. A taproom would be used as a happy hour site, as well.
Musicant has also curated a patio furniture package that each tenant could buy for its patio space. Hyde and Mortenson are offering a grant to help pay for the furniture.
Musicant has done similar programming at eight downtown office buildings, but this is the company’s first industrial park. Industrial parks tend to have more hourly employees than a downtown office building, so Musicant tailored the programming to the tenants. In this case, that meant more virtual contests like March Madness brackets and "The Bachelor" pools, plus after-hours events.
But ultimately, it’s a similar offering, said Max Musicant, principal and founder of the firm. “Both of them have similar points of departure in that we’re creating great places to work for the tenants in the building and creating experiences that they can’t get anywhere else. That contributes to creativity, productivity, wellness, community and social experiences — bringing people together.”
Bringing people together was a big thing for tenants.
“A pleasant surprise was that we saw strong desire for community in the buildings because what’s different in an industrial park is that instead of having lots of tenants on one footprint with shared space, the industrial park is spread out,” Trelstad said. “Tenants don’t come to one central location to get to know each other.”
Mortenson and Hyde are also teaming up on another industrial park in Brighton, Colo. That park is under construction and will also get the Musicant treatment when it opens this fall. Hyde intends to add the programming to his entire Twin Cities portfolio.
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