A St. Louis-based group of marketing companies is doubling its footprint downtown, inking a lease for some 35,000 square feet on two floors in the St. Louis Place building at 200 North Broadway.
Keith Alper’s Nitrous Effect — a 10-year-old collection of eight marketing, technology and creative firms that has worked for clients such as Southwest Airlines, Ulta Beauty and BJC HealthCare — will move to the new space from the Park Pacific building, where it leases about 18,000 square feet. Alper said about 85 employees are moving, and he plans to hire 10 to 15 more people, with plenty of space in the new spot to keep growing.
“We just don’t have room,” Alper said. “If we stayed in Park Pacific — it just wasn’t a long-term solution.”
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“I think downtown is the heart of the region,” he said. “What I love about where we’re going is we’re in the thick of things.”
Downtown also has among the highest vacancy rates, and thus lower office lease rates, than other areas of the region. Some of that is due in part to major vacancies, such as the now-empty AT&T skyscraper.
But the area has seen major projects in recent years, such as the revamp of the Arch grounds and the second phase of Ballpark Village. It received a major boost this week when Silicon Valley firm Square announced it would lease over 200,000 square feet in the Post-Dispatch’s building with room to grow its St. Louis office to 1,400 employees.
“This is the second significant announcement this week — the tech and creative sectors continue to grow downtown, and Nitrous is part of that,” Missy Kelley, CEO of Downtown STL Inc., which manages the downtown Community Improvement District, said in a statement. “Creative people increasingly want to work in walkable, dynamic environments with beautiful spaces, entertainment and dining options.”
Alper, a former board member of the Downtown CID, said business and government efforts to support the entrepreneurship ecosystem may be the best strategy for downtown.
“I think that’s where you’re going to see a lot of the growth downtown, is from growing startups and growing businesses,” Alper said.
Alper also runs videoconferencing firm Geniecast, which he said will remain in its own space at 555 Washington Avenue.