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Cottage Grove BEC doors opened to prospective business tenants

Casey Michalik, vice president of Premier Biotech, leads a small tour in the company’s leased space at the Cottage Grove Business Enterprise Center. (Bulletin photos by Scott Wente)1 / 2
City Administrator Ryan Schroeder guides a tour of the Business Enterprise Center during the Jan. 22 open house. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)2 / 2

Small business owners seeking office space — and their financial lenders — had an opportunity last week to poke around in Cottage Grove’s Business Enterprise Center.

Prospective tenants, financial institutions and higher education representatives were among those who toured the small business incubator at a Jan. 22 open house.

Cottage Grove Economic Development Director Danette Parr, City Administrator Ryan Schroeder and others led informal tours through the two-story former City Hall building at 7516 80th St.

“We had a lot of people go through there that have connections to other people that might be potential clients,” Schroeder said. “Banks are always great relationships to have because they know sooner than most folks businesses that will be looking for expansion.”

Using an independent management firm, the city has leased about 39 percent of the available commercial space in the building. 

There are four business tenants, plus the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber also held an open house Jan. 22 to show its new office space in the lower level of the building.

Most of the upper level space is dedicated to either existing business leases or training and conference rooms.

One tenant, Premier Biotech Labs, is expanding its lease to include more office space across the hall from the lab it currently uses to analyze samples for drug testing and other applications.

Casey Michalik, a Premier Biotech vice president, said they plan to add sales staff.

“This is exactly what we’re looking for,” Parr said of Premier’s expansion. “We have businesses that are growing and able to expand.”

Schroeder said a lease with a fifth business tenant is expected to be complete soon. In addition, the city picked up strong leads during the open house, he said.

The city opened the Business Enterprise Center in mid-summer 2013. It offers sub-market rate leases intended for business startups, with the hope that those small firms grow large enough to move to private, commercial space in Cottage Grove.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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