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Mar. 19, 2014 11:15 am

Why Mindgrub is moving its headquarters into Baltimore city

The move, said Mindgrub founder and CEO Todd Marks, had little to do with Baltimore city itself and more to do with employees' commute times.

Several Mindgrub employees outside the company's Catonsville headquarters. Photo courtesy of Mindgrub.

Mindgrub Technologies, a web, mobile and game development agency based in Catonsville, now has plans to move its headquarters to an office in Locust Point.

But the move, said Mindgrub founder and CEO Todd Marks, had “nothing to do” with Baltimore city itself.

“Catonsville just couldn’t hold us,” he said of his firm’s fast growing team. “I spent the longest time trying to find new property in Catonsville. Nothing could hold us. [We] didn’t have time to build a new building.”

The need for new space speaks to Mindgrub’s rapid expansion over the last few years. With nearly 50 employees, and plans to expand its development work into the wearable technology field, Mindgrub needed a bigger office that could grow with the company.

Although the main motivating factors for moving into Locust Point — something Marks expressed interest in doing during a September 2013 Baltimore City Council hearing on the “innovation economy” — was proximity to I-95 and employees’ commute times as well as the chance to be near Under Armour‘s south Baltimore campus.

“Over two days at 9 in the morning and 5 at night, we just did Google [Maps] estimates for commute time,” said Marks, who mentioned he has employees who drive from Frederick and Silver Spring to their Catonsville office.

Baltimore city, then, was just one choice for a move considered among others, including Columbia, Ellicott City and Annapolis. During that fall hearing, Marks also said he hesitated moving into Baltimore city because he worried whether his employees would want to send their kids to the Baltimore city public schools, a concern that drew a rebuke from Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.

The target date for Mindgrub’s move, Marks said, is May 10. The company plans to move into one-half of one building of the former manufacturing and distribution facility for Phillips Foods, which closed in summer 2012, and spend its first year in Locust Point there. (The other half of the building is occupied by Under Armour.)

The second building on the facility premises, which is 130,000 square feet, will be renovated for Mindgrub to move into in year two in Baltimore city.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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