Flanked by elected officials and employees, Toro Co. CEO Mike Hoffman scrambled atop Toro's new construction backhoe and tore through the parking lot Thursday to make way for a new $25 million addition at the Bloomington headquarters.
The three-story add-on will span 75,000 square feet and be completed by the summer of 2014, just in time for the lawn mower company's 100th anniversary. Ryan Cos. is leading the construction project, which will give Toro more office space and additional room for testing and new product development, officials told a cheering crowd Thursday.
Toro currently has 400,000 square feet of office, R&D and manufacturing space at the site, which houses nearly 950 workers.
The buoyant Hoffman said "this new building will help take us into the next century." He credited the need for new space to the "anticipated growth of our business." The company has expanded in recent years beyond Toro's traditional lawn mowers and underground sprinkler systems and into construction and utility-tunnel digging equipment.
Toro's newly acquired line of backhoes, trenchers and ground compactors/power trowels will be used to build the new project, Hoffman said.
The addition will sit just off Lyndale Avenue between W. 82nd Street and American Boulevard W. Once complete, the entrance to the headquarters will be relocated so it faces American Boulevard instead of 82nd Street.
Toro first opened a research and development facility in Bloomington in 1952. It eventually relocated its St. Paul headquarters to the Bloomington site in 1962. The last major addition to the building was done in 1997 and led by Ryan Cos.
On hand to celebrate Toro's decision to stay and expand in Minnesota were Gov. Mark Dayton, Rep. Erik Paulsen, Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead and officials from Ryan Cos., Greater MSP and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
They donned yellow hard hats, grabbed 14 shovels and chucked dirt from the back parking lot, before making way for Hoffman's backhoe.
Department spokeswoman Madeline Koch confirmed Thursday that the Minnesota Investment Fund plans to award Toro a $750,000 loan that will be forgiven if the lawn care equipment company retains 900 workers in Minnesota and adds at least 50 new corporate jobs.
Beyond Toro, the expansion adds to a growing list of local projects for Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos., said CEO and President Pat Ryan.
Ryan will build the new St. Paul Saints stadium in St. Paul, is involved in development around the new Vikings stadium, and is working on projects for Shutterfly in Shakopee, Federal Express in Maple Grove and Compass Data Centers in Shakopee.
Ryan officials have been discussing Toro's expansion plans in Bloomington for about two years, Ryan said.
Jason Gabrick, Ryan NorthCentral division manager, praised the new addition as "a continuation of a long-standing relationship between the Toro Company and Ryan Companies" that goes back more than 25 years. "We are excited to be a part of the next century of Toro's growth."
Toro, with $1.96 billion in 2012 revenue, specializes in lawn care, golf course, landscape, irrigation and construction equipment.