Two law firms help fill downtown office building

By Jodi Schwan

Equity Square has filled its entire fourth floor and most of the third with a combination of professional offices, including Cutler Law Firm, which is taking the whole top floor of the building at Eighth Street and Phillips Avenue.

“We’re excited,” attorney Kent Cutler said. “We’ve got 20 lawyers now, with another starting after law school, so it will be nice to have some additional space. And we’ll all be on one floor, which will be nice for us.”

The firm is split among three floors in the former Great Western building on the other end of the Phillips Avenue block, where it has been located for 20 years. The building is under contract but a buyer hasn’t been announced yet. After acquiring Home Federal Bank, Great Western moved to those downtown offices.

The Cutler firm is leasing more than 12,000 square feet and options for office space of that size are limited downtown.

Equity Square proved a good fit, Cutler said.

“Being on the river with a deck is really nice, plus there’s the potential of hopefully having a nice restaurant on the first floor and having the railroad area redevelop over the next five, 10, 15 years. I think it will make that part of downtown feel a little more central and like the heart of downtown over time,” he said.

The firm has to build out its space and plans to move in by early March.

On the third floor, another law firm is moving in.

Robins Kaplan LLP, which is based in Minneapolis, is moving its Sioux Falls office from the Security Building at 101 S. Main Ave.

The firm will lease 2,500 square feet at Equity Square and have three or four attorneys working there, said Brendan Johnson, who leads the Sioux Falls office.

“I am excited that Robins Kaplan will be part of the revitalized downtown,” Johnson said. “The space and views of the city will be great for our local clients, as well our national clients visiting Sioux Falls for the first time.”

The firm plans to move in early next year.

Another new tenant, CISA Trust Co., is taking 2,800 square feet on the third floor. It’s based in Switzerland with offices in New Zealand, the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands.

The trust company promotes itself as an independent firm not owned by a financial institution or private equity group and one of the oldest trust companies in Geneva. It was incorporated in 1972. The U.S. trust offices is listed as Pierre. There are marketing offices in New York and Miami.

Bank, Equity Trust open

The first and second floors of Equity Square are starting to fill up, too.

Ohio-based Equity Trust Co. was the first to move in earlier this year, occupying the second floor. There were 15 employees in March, and now there are 20 working in audit, compliance and client services. There is a large portion of unfinished space that could be used for staff expansion.

“The new office location at Equity Square has been incredible so far,” site manager Jared Greenfield said.

“Our employees have a great sense of pride working in downtown Sioux Falls.  There are so many amazing projects taking place within a few blocks of our location, and we love being right in the middle of the action. Between our community involvement and new building, people are starting to recognize Equity Trust Co., and that will certainly help with future growth.”

 

On the first floor, the lobby recently was completed and Heritage Bank opened in early October.

Heritage Bank, which is charted in Spicer, Minn., is leasing 3,000 square feet for its first Sioux Falls branch.

The bank has four branches in Minnesota, eight in Iowa, and a handful of staff members worked remotely in Sioux Falls.

Dave Brown at the entrance of Heritage Bank.

The Equity Square branch opens off of the lobby and doesn’t have a traditional teller line. Staff work in glassed-in offices with several areas for collaborating.

“I really like it,” market president Dave Brown said. “They aren’t traditional offices. We focused more on the conference rooms and meeting with customers, and I really like the open design and layout.”

The branch offers all the traditional services of a bank branch, including business, mortgage and personal banking.

Brown has worked in the Sioux Falls market since 1999 and several other staff members are from the area, he said.

“That’s the reason we wanted to grow in this market. It’s a growing and dynamic market with a very good business community. I’ve always been impressed by the business community and the attitude of the town, and that’s really what attracted us to Sioux Falls.”

While the bank eventually might add locations, “the focus isn’t the branches,” Brown said. “It’s having our folks out and talking to people at the businesses and having our mortgage bankers out talking to people. We really don’t have to come into the branch. We know it’s an important aspect, but we’ll make sure we take care of the needs of our customers.”

The downtown branch is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. A hybrid ATM offers video conferencing with a teller from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

More space available

There’s less than 4,000 square feet of office space left on the third floor of Equity Square, but developer Norm Drake said he’s working with a potential tenant to fill it.

That would just leave the first floor, where space off of the lobby is envisioned as a coffee shop, and space on the east end along the river is planned as a restaurant.

Potential tenants have come and gone during the year, but “interest in those is picking up again,” Drake said.

Two law firms help fill downtown office building

Equity Square has filled its entire fourth floor and most of the third with a combination of professional offices, including Cutler Law Firm, which is taking the whole top floor.

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