The Eagan City Council recently approved zoning changes that will enable the law firm of Bennerotte and Associates to relocate to a 15,000-square-foot property to be built near Courthouse Lane and Hwy. 55.

Thomas Bennerotte's personal injury law firm now operates out of a building near Pilot Knob and Yankee Doodle Roads. "We're packed in here like sardines," Bennerotte said. The firm has grown from a handful to about 20 employees since 2008. Some people currently work out of their homes because there's no room for them in the existing office, he said.

The firm will occupy about 7,500 square feet on the upper floor of the new two-story building, more than triple the space at the existing office, and Bennerotte said he's had some preliminary discussions with potential tenants for the first floor.

Bennerotte said he expects to close soon on his purchase of the new property's 4.85-acre site and begin construction "as quickly as possible." The entire project, including the land purchase, should cost about $3 million, he said.

Bennerotte said he eventually plans to build two more office buildings on the site and lease those to other tenants, but he has no timetable for those projects.

Home building boom

Residential construction continues to fuel the bulk of building activity in Lakeville.

The city recently reported it issued building permits for 183 single-family homes through September with a total value of about $53.5 million. This compares with 94 single-family permits valued at $29.3 million for the same period last year.

Lakeville had the highest number of residential building permits among communities in Dakota and Scott Counties for the first nine months of this year, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. The city ranked fourth in the Twin Cities area behind Blaine, Woodbury and Plymouth.

Lakeville's commercial and industrial permits through September had a total valuation of $9.1 million, up from $8.6 million during the same period in 2011.

New PR firm in Apple Valley

Apple Valley resident and corporate public relations veteran Jason Sprenger recently launched his own business, Game Changer Communications. For now, it's a one-person office, which Sprenger is operating out of his home.

Sprenger most recently led North American public relations for FICO, and before that managed communications for Xiotech when it was based in Eden Prairie. The company is now called X-IO with headquarters in Colorado Springs. Sprenger also worked for area PR agencies Tunheim Partners, Fast Horse and Kohnstamm Communications.

Sprenger said his new business will offer a range of services, from media relations to brand management and social media/community work to internal communications.

Sprenger has one client to date, an Eau Claire-based maker of experiential learning products called Realityworks.

Please send your Dakota County business news to Susan Feyder • 952-746-3282