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Photography by Peter Crouser

For more than 30 years, International Market Square has served as the design destination of the North. Five floors are home to 100+ creative companies, ranging from architects, designers and show rooms to marketing agencies, software developers and web designers. And now, with a renewed energy and revamped space thanks to local owners Eagle Ridge Partners, the focus is on catering to both the public and the Twin Cities creative community at large.

The thoughtful, environmentally oriented remodel is evident before you even set foot inside the historic building. Lush landscaping and expanded parking encourage traffic and welcome visitors in. Enter into the refreshed main lobby, and you’ll instantly feel at ease in the living room–like space, complete with cozy seating and a fireplace. You’ll also notice that the Chicago brick structure has an upped elegance factor, thanks to details like a fresh coat of modern bronze matte paint on its wrought-iron staircases and railings. As you approach the grand atrium, you’re greeted by Market Square Bistro by D’Amico, the perfect place to grab a bite before exploring a mix of show rooms. Looking for insider access? With advance notice, anyone can easily be matched with a designer to assist with more exclusive services.

Designers and their clients are loving the renewed, expanded show rooms and displays from AJ Maison, FK Textile, Tapis Decor and the Brands at Rabbit Creek. “We couldn’t be more excited to have consolidated everything into one large space,” explains Rabbit Creek Owner and CEO Susan Thayer, as she stands in a light-filled show room that is as inspirational as it is shoppable. And with a short stroll around the newly LED-lit, freshly painted halls, you’ll find IMS is also home to a florist, a dermatologist, a massage therapist/acupuncturist and even professional associations.

The creative community can take advantage of ShareSquare, a new co-working space with a prime locale near the remodeled lobby. The brainchild of designer (and IMS tenant, naturally) Mark Suess, it is an energetic place to create and collaborate, featuring innovative options from drop-in desks to private offices as well as a dedicated receptionist, conference rooms, and project workrooms with printing capabilities. Other new amenities making IMS more accessible than ever include hospitality suites, all-gender restrooms and a tenant bike room. Of course, a refresh of a design destination is not complete without art, thus this revamp includes new dedicated wall space prime for displaying commissioned work by local artists.

The ownership and management groups work together on the first floor, emphasizing a revitalized commitment to the Twin Cities community and the day-to-day happenings of the design resource center, both today and tomorrow. To that end, the recent remodel focused not only on aesthetics but also environmental responsibility. “We believe it’s important to address sustainability in order to be a responsible business and property owner,” says Shannon Van Gemert, managing director and principal at Eagle Ridge Partners, which took over ownership of IMS in 2017. “This building offers an extremely unique environment for both tenants and visitors.” And it reflects design’s broadest definition: art, with a purpose. 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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