John Ferrier

Vice president of architecture for CSM Corp.


Architect John Ferrier’s first project was designing a C’mon Inn Hotel in Fargo, N.D. Twenty years later, Ferrier, 44, has dozens of multimillion-dollar projects under his belt and has been promoted to vice president of architecture at Minneapolis-based CSM Corp. He leads the design of all of CSM’s commercial, residential and hotel architectural projects and manages the company’s architectural team.

The Shoreview native played a key role in the design of CSM’s Lexington Preserve IV office building in Blaine and the renovation of Bonaventure Shopping Center in Minnetonka. Ferrier is the lead designer of two speculative industrial projects planned for Brooklyn Park and Rogers, and he is working on the conversion of a historic office building into a hotel in downtown Phoenix. He joined CSM in 2002.

Q: Is there a project that stands out for you?

A: The Aveda distribution center in Blaine was one of my early projects. It was really exciting because I’ve always had a passion for sustainability. Aveda is a very sustainable company, and their ideals aligned with my ideals. LEED was out there, but it was before it had really caught on. We did a series of solar-tracking skylights and installed light sensors and occupancy sensors that saved in energy costs.

Q: As VP, what are your new responsibilities?

A: I’ll continue to manage all of the in-house and third-party architecture services; however, now I’m going to be more involved in the strategic planning and overall direction of the company.

Q: Talk about CSM’s industrial projects in ­Rogers and Brooklyn Park, which are expected to break ground this summer.

A: We’re working on the construction documents for the Rogers bulk/warehouse project. The building is a precast building, which is a great product with a higher insulating value.

[The Brooklyn Park office/warehouse building] will have a higher office component, so you bring in different materials like metal panels at the entries to give it more of that tech feel. Also, a future light-rail line is planned [to run from Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park] and will run right to the west of this building. The city wanted us to consider transit-oriented development, so we’ve done things like pull the building closer to the street and have direct sidewalks to the main sidewalk that leads to future transit shelters.

Q: Talk about your hotel work.

A: I was just in Phoenix looking at a historic office building that we’re renovating. It’ll be called the Hotel Monroe. The building was built in the 1930s and has been sitting vacant for years. It will be similar to the Depot project we did here at the Milwaukee Road Depot.


Liz Wolf is an Eagan-based freelance writer. She can be reached at