Gordmans to break ground on 'fun, energetic' corporate home

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Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013 12:00 am

Gordmans, a homegrown Omaha retailer, today will mark the groundbreaking of its new corporate offices at Aksarben Village near 67th and Frances Streets.

The $28 million, roughly 100,000- square-foot building is being developed as a joint venture between Waitt Co. and Noddle Cos., both of Omaha.

Gordmans, which announced last summer that it planned to relocate its headquarters to Aksarben Village, has signed a 15-year lease and will occupy the top two floors, about 70,000 square feet, of the planned three-story building.

The ground floor will offer leasing opportunities to unrelated stores and shops.

About 240 of Gordmans' 5,000 companywide employees work in the existing corporate offices, a former Gordmans store near 120th Street and West Center Road that was converted to corporate offices.

“We've been there since 1983,” said Jeff Gordman, the company's president and chief executive.

The new building, which is expected to be completed in March 2014, will accommodate up to 300 employees. “The lease allows us to expand our space another 30,000 square feet,” Gordman said.

Gordmans has been in expansion mode for several years. This year, it plans to open 10 new stores.

The Gordmans floors will feature an open-space floor plan and mini-lounges scattered throughout the offices, which will house its finance, marketing and other corporate functions. A 3,000-square-foot balcony will give employees a view of the “urban village,” a term used to characterize the 73-acre Aksarben retail, office and residential development.

“It will be open and bright. A lot of offices are very sterile. These are intended to infuse a sense of warmth and a residential feeling,” Gordman said. “We're really trying to create an energetic workspace and facilitate brainstorming.

“Our new headquarters will be much more consistent with our brand — fun, energetic and unique.”

Gordman cited the development's ambience, recreation, restaurants, high-tech University of Nebraska facilities and overall “energy,” as significant factors in the firm's decision to relocate its headquarters there.

“We really did our homework when we chose Aksarben Village,” Gordman said. “We love the fact that it's a mixed-use development and has a strong university presence. It also offers a lot of options in terms of entertainment and recreation.”

The retailer, however, has no plans to locate a Gordmans store at Aksarben Village, he said.

Aksarben Village has drawn the attention of several local companies seeking new headquarters. Last month, Phenomblue, an Omaha advertising agency, said it planned to relocate its offices to the development this spring, joining the headquarters of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and several other professional offices.

Aksarben Village, which was built on the site of the former Ak-Sar-Ben horse racing track and entertainment facility, is expected to see additional development in the next three years, including a hotel and residential units.

Gordmans, founded in 1915, assumed its current retail format in 1996 when Jeff Gordman took the helm. Gordmans opened nine stores last year and plans to open 10 more this year in Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Louisville, Ky., Peoria, Ill., and other cities. Each store averages 50,000 square feet. The publicly traded retailer currently operates 83 stores in 18 states.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1142, janice.podsada@owh.com

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