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TKDA unveils new Duluth office

After years of designing some well-known spaces in the Twin Ports, TKDA decided it was time to design a new space of its own here. The architecture firm has expanded to a new Duluth office and doubled its staff at the Technology Village downtown....

042417.B.DNT.TKDAC1: Architecture, planning and engineering firm TKDA recently moved up a floor at Duluth's Technology Village, expanding to 10,000 square feet at 20 employees. Brooks Johnson / bjohnson@duluthnews.com
Architecture, planning and engineering firm TKDA recently moved up a floor at Duluth's Technology Village, expanding to 10,000 square feet at 20 employees. Brooks Johnson / bjohnson@duluthnews.com

 

After years of designing some well-known spaces in the Twin Ports, TKDA decided it was time to design a new space of its own here. The architecture firm has expanded to a new Duluth office and doubled its staff at the Technology Village downtown.

"We realize for us to be successful up here, we need people on the ground, in an office here," said TKDA CEO Bill Deitner, who is based out of the company's St. Paul headquarters. "What this gives us is the capability to grow."

Grow further, that is, as the company recently hit 20 employees and had run out of room at its third-floor space in the Tech Village on the corner of Lake Avenue and Superior Street.

So the team took $750,000 to transform 10,000 square feet on the fourth floor of the building, which was previously "just studs," said company vice president Leslee LeRoux.

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Last week the office held an open house, letting folks past the glass doors into the wide open space accented with reds, whites and grays. Flatscreens on the wall rotated images of past projects, such as Hermantown Middle/High School and Wade Stadium's recent renovation.

The company, which handles architecture, engineering and planning, has nine offices spread across the country; Deitner said Duluth is the second-largest.

"We signed a 10-year lease," he said. "This is important for us."

The Twin Ports seem to have no shortage of architecture and engineering firms for the size of the market.

"Each has their niche," LeRoux said. "The rail industry remains a large partner - we had 20 projects last year."

TKDA was the architect of record for Amsoil Arena and holds that role for the current renovations at the NorShor Theatre. One of the first projects the 107-year-old company tackled was the Allouez Ore Docks.

The company's move takes over one vacancy but leaves behind another in the Technology Village.

Tiffany Hughes of A&L Properties said the building is 93 percent full. The former TKDA space, at about 4,700 square feet, and a fifth-floor space, at 2,500 square feet, are among the larger remaining offices available.

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"We have such a wide variety and array of people here, it's for anyone looking to upgrade and be in a Class A facility," Hughes said, adding she's happy TKDA decided to stay in the Technology Village.

Brooks Johnson was an enterprise/investigative reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune from 2016 to 2019.
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