CINCINNATI - DunnhumbyUSA's new downtown Cincinnati headquarters will reach the equivalent of almost 14 stories high, cost $122 million to build and will be dubbed Dunnhumby Centre once it's completed in late 2014.
And if the cutting-edge office space turns out to be as cool as the market research firm is planning, the development just might draw other big corporate tenants downtown, too.
"It's a new benchmark for office," said Cincinnati Economic Development Director Odis Jones. "It's another step in the ladder of the city Renaissance that's taking place downtown."
The office space is being designed to have open floor plans and be "cubicle free," with meeting spaces for employees to collaborate. It also will have incubator space to house start-ups. It will have 280,000 square feet of headquarters office space, 30,000 square feet of street-level retail and commercial space and a 1,000-car garage. All that will be built over nine floors. But some are so tall, developers said, the structure will be the equivalent of 13.6 stories. Three levels of parking will be built underground, and three levels will be built above ground. If DunnhumbyUSA needs even more room to grow in the future, the company has the option to use some levels of the garage to expand its offices.
Dave Palm, DunnhumbyUSA's senior vice president of operations, said he hopes the project will inspire other corporations to consider a downtown address.
"I feel we're really leveraging the city," he said.
Palm said DunnhumbyUSA's staff wants the easy access to shopping at nearby Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue and dining at the many nearby restaurants – whether it's for a sit-down lunch at Palomino Restaurant & Bar or to grab a burrito at Chipotle.
"There's just so much variety," he said.
The project's official groundbreaking was Thursday morning. Work on the new headquarters will start Monday, said Chad Munitz, executive vice president at the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., the project's lead developer. Munitz said some of the floors will be so high that the 9-story building will be as tall as a 15-story building.
The project's financing plan includes new markets tax credits, corporate loan funds managed by 3CDC, a loan from the state of Ohio and conventional debt and equity. DunnhumbyUSA also will provide private capital.
The market research company, which currently has about 650 employees in Cincinnati, expects that number to grow to 1,100 by 2018. It was founded in 2003 as a joint venture between The Kroger Co. and Dunnhumby Ltd. based in London. The company uses customer data to help its clients cater to loyal customers.