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Fast-growing insurance firm is moving HQ to one of Cincinnati's coolest offices

A fast-growing insurance broker and provider of risk management and employee benefits with a focus on private equity will move its national headquarters to the penthouse of the Kenwood Collection, one of the most unique spaces in Greater Cincinnati.

Hauser Insurance Group, based in Sycamore Township, signed a lease for the entire penthouse atop the eight-story office tower. The company signed a long-term lease for nearly 13,000 square feet of space.

Mark Hauser, chairman of Hauser, said the move represents the firm’s plans for future growth. “We are making a statement,” Hauser told me. “We’re competing with the best, largest international firms. This is not ‘look at us,’ this is a statement to our employees and client base. This is the place to work.”

When the company moves into the tower in the summer of 2016, it will have about 75 employees in the building. There is room for up to 100 employees.

Hauser also said the space will help with retaining top talent and recruiting on a national level.

“The firm has grown from a regional firm that started here to a national firm over the past five to 10 years,” Hauser said. “This space will be more emblematic of who we are and where we’re headed.”

Kevin Aston, president of Hauser, said the firm’s client base expanded nationally with clients in more than 40 states. As the firm grew, it added offices in other cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and Los Angeles.

“We’re experiencing tremendous growth,” Aston told me.

While Hauser would not disclose financial information, he did say compared to its national peers, it’s one of the fastest-growing firms in the country.

Aston said Hauser is unique in the way it serves private equity. Because of its focus on the private equity market, Hauser said he expects that segment to continue growing for at lease the next five years.

“That’s why we’re confident in doing something like this,” Hauser told me.

Hauser’s clients include Sibcy Cline Realtors, Gulf Stream Marine and Paycor.

Aston said Hauser is looking to hire about 25 employees in the next two years. While some of those hires will be in other cities, Aston said the majority would likely be in Cincinnati.

At one time envisioned as a rooftop restaurant, the space at the top of Kenwood Collection’s office tower has soaring 30-foot windows on the south side of the tower. On a clear day, it’s easy to see downtown Cincinnati.

Currently, a temporary wall has been built just inside the windows at the penthouse level. Those walls will come down to let natural light pour into the space. In the north side of the penthouse, Hauser will open up the exterior walls and install large windows, again giving employees and clients a view that stretches for miles.

Hauser will be working with an architect to design the space. It expects to make a decision on its architect soon.

Hauser is planning a reception space with a barista area right off the elevator. The rest of the space will be designed to be as open as possible, with offices on the interior of the space. That way, light from the large windows will go into as much of the office as possible.

“This is a great opportunity to welcome clients to the space,” Aston said.

Peter Snow, vice president with Cushman & Wakefield in Cincinnati, represented Hauser in the deal. JLL handles office leasing for Kenwood Collection with a team headed up by Rusty Myers, executive vice president for the firm’s Cincinnati office.

Currently located across Interstate 71 from Kenwood Collection at 8260 Northcreek Drive, Hauser looked for more than a year before signing a lease at the development.

Mark Wilhoite, vice president of development at PECO Real Estate Partners, the developer of Kenwood Collection, said adding Hauser’s headquarters is “an exciting milestone” for the project.

Kenwood Collection is a mixed-used development featuring lifestyle shopping and dining across 260,000 square feet of retail space with a 2,300-space parking garage as well as a 250,000-square-foot class A office tower. Current retail tenants include Crate & Barrel, the Container Store, Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa and the region’s first Mitchell Gold-Bob Williams Signature Store. Ohio’s first 365 by Whole Foods and LL Bean have recently announced they are opening locations at the Kenwood Collection.

Hauser joins other office tenants including New York Life Insurance Company, Assured Neace Lukens Insurance, Unlimited Systems, Ameriprise Financial, PLK Communities, Bellwether Enterprise, Partners Specialty Group and Oppenheimer & Co.


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