A new office complex north of Brainerd opened this month and is offering an alternative from home offices and higher prices.
Barbeau Pines office complex is a 10-unit office building. With a half-log exterior and stones, the office complex exterior was created with the north woods theme. If there are a few more tenants signed for one or three-year leases, builder Dave Peterson said he may start a planned second office building next door yet this fall.
Inside, tenants have been able to create office space to fit their needs. Small, uniform signs on the exterior and in the larger office complex list the office tenants.
Peterson, of Start to Finish Remodelers, and PR Development, are behind the office space development. Start to Finish Remodelers, along with several other offices including Mid-Minnesota Builders Association are located in an office complex across the road from Barbeau Pines.
In March, Peterson said he believed in the lakes area's continued economic strength even during the national recession.
"I don't see it falling," Peterson said of construction demand. "I just have great confidence in our area."
Barbeau Pines office complex opened in July. The complex is part of a growing business area for people who do not need the high visibility or higher prices of a main highway, but who want an office setting. A second office building next door is planned.
Last week, Peterson's confidence in the area's economy was undaunted.
"I see no economic slowdown whatsoever." And Peterson said there is a need for office space with avenues for people who want to be close to the Brainerd/Baxter area, but do not want to pay the high prices that can come with Highway 371 frontage.
Barbeau Pines is geared for people who do not need the highway visibility. And Peterson said he sees a shift coming from people who put in home offices but who now see the value of a separation between work and home.
Peterson was one of those people. And Peterson said his tenants have told him they do not need the exposure of a busy highway setting. Tenants include a mortgage company, an attorney, an architect and a builder.
"I will never go back," he said of working at home versus an office setting. "It's just easier to work. I think it just creates a more professional setting. ... It was just nice to be able to relax when I got home."
Curt "Hawk" Hawkinson agrees. Hawkinson, Dream Home Builders, Pillager, was the first tenant in Barbeau Pines. Hawkinson said the move came at a time when they wanted to add phone lines for computers. Hawkinson said moving the business to an office setting away from home is a help for family life.
"I feel this is going to be a lot more efficient too," he said. "We'll get a lot more done."
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