Level Office, a co-working provider new to the Twin Cities, has purchased the former home of the Art Institutes International Minnesota in downtown Minneapolis.

Occupying all four floors of the 78,600-square-foot LaSalle Building will make Chicago-based Level Office one of the largest co-working operators in the metro and possibly the largest collaborative space under one roof.

“We are drawn by Minneapolis’ supportive environment for small businesses,” said Bill Bennett, the founder of Level Office, in a statement. “The city’s strong economic growth and diverse mix of entrepreneurs makes it an ideal place for a Level Office location.”

Level bought the building last week, though the company did not reveal the price and on Monday those details were not yet publicly available through state records. The property is valued at close to $6.5 million, according to Hennepin County property records.

The company plans to renovate the space, which will start being available in early April. Leasing is already underway for private offices and suites.

The building, which is tucked between the Le Meridien Chambers hotel and a parking garage on 9th Street, had been the site of the Art Institutes until 2016 when the school stopped taking new students. The Art Institutes moved out at the end of last year.

Most new co-working spaces in the Twin Cities have rented their space in other buildings as opposed to purchasing the building outright like Level has done.

“By purchasing the buildings where it operates, Level Office is able to invest in infrastructure improvements including fiber internet, all while keeping rents lower than competitors,” the company said in a news release.

Level charges $99 a month for 24/7 co-working memberships and starting at $440 a month for private offices, which is cheaper than many co-working rates especially in downtown Minneapolis.

A spokesman for Level Office confirmed on Monday that the co-working provider would occupy the entire building, though it would consider a retail tenant. A recently released annual report by local technology news outlet TECHdotMN showed Level’s office would be larger than any others in the metro.

In the past year, there has been a flurry of co-working office openings mainly concentrated in downtown Minneapolis.

WeWork opened more than 50,000 square feet of space at Capella Tower last fall. A few months later, the company signed a lease for 46,000 square feet in the MoZaic East building under construction in Uptown. Industrious opened its second location last year in 34,000 square feet of the North Loop’s T3 building. Late last year, Spaces, a co-working provider originating in the Netherlands, signed a lease for about 40,000 square feet.

Level has 20 locations across the country.


Twitter: @nicolenorfleet