By Rick Seltzer
Published in the Herald Times on December 6, 2013
CFC Properties hopes to take two floors in a downtown Bloomington building that’s on the National Register of Historic Places and fill them with offices for high-tech companies.
The real-estate firm, which is part of Bloomington-based Cook Group, has started a push to find technology tenants for a large chunk of space at the Wicks Building. The building is at 116 W. Sixth St. on the north side of Bloomington’s courthouse square.
It was built in 1915 and was the home of the Wicks Bee Hive Department Store until 1976. CFC purchased it in 1995. Today, the building’s ground floor holds VIP Nails, Gallery 406 and Royale Hair Parlor. It also has about 6,000 square feet of space available on its second floor and 6,000 square feet available on its third floor.
The space, going for a price of $12 per square foot, opened up after the government contractor Technology Service Corp. moved to the west side of Bloomington. Technology Service Corp. moved earlier this year after occupying the space for more than two decades, according to Chris Cockerham, CFC’s vice president of commercial real estate.
“It was individual offices,” Cockerham said. “We went in and opened the whole thing up. We’re seeing a trend for large open space for tech companies so they can have more collaborative space.”
CFC is actively searching for a company or companies to move into the floors. It showed off the second and third-floor Wicks space Thursday during an open house.
The second floor is a large open area book ended between large windows at the front and back. It has a mix of wood and carpeted floors, along with black ceilings and black support beams.
The third floor is also mostly open, although it has a few more walls and some offices. It’s currently less finished than the second, with an exposed brick wall in the back and unfinished wood floors.
CFC decided to try to fill the vacated space with technology tenants because tech companies often bring in higher-wage workers. Such workers can boost the overall economy in downtown Bloomington, Cockerham said.
Plus, the architecture has the right vibe.
“When you see the space, it just feels like what tech companies are looking for,” Cockerham said. “Big tall ceilings. It’s a unique space.”
December isn’t a bad time to lease commercial space, Cockerham added. Many companies want to get leases in place before the first of the year.
CFC has shown the Wicks space to several companies and is “currently courting” a company for the third-floor space, he said.
Cockerham also believes some technology companies are feeling better about the economy and are ready to expand.
“It feels like the economy is getting its footing, at least from my perspective,” he said.