Borders building leased at last

After two years of empty waiting, Saratogians can look forward to a new tenant in the former Borders building on Broadway. Local firm FingerPaint Marketing officially announced Wednesday that it has signed a 10-year lease to occupy the space.

The move will let the advertising and marketing agency keep its employees in the downtown area, while providing room for expansion. FingerPaint expects to add approximately 50 employees within the next three years, based on its current growth trends.

"We are thrilled to be in a position to lease such a significant piece of property in downtown Saratoga Springs. We're a hometown, employee-owned company, and this move will allow our staff to work right in the heart of the city," said Ed Mitzen, FingerPaint's founder and one of its four partners.

Started during the harsh economy of 2008 by Mitzen and partners Jaime Butler-Binley,­ Patrick O’Shea, and Andy Pyfer, FingerPaint has been expanding steadily. The agency has 42 employees at present and is advertising for five more to fill such positions as project management team member and creative team member—design. Mitzen estimates his firm will have 50 staff members by year’s end.

“We are adding positions as we bring on more client work,” he said. Current clients include the Adirondack Trust Company, Budweiser, Drake Laboratories, and United Way. The agency has grown from $4.3 million in revenue in 2011 to $6 million thus far in 2012.

The agency’s all-for-one philosophy foregoes individual offices and job titles, according to Mitzen, who is identified among his workers under the job designation of “marketing strategy.” Butler-Binley is “creative.” On the agency’s Web site, the staff displays its annual fingerpainting shoots, where all the employees take gallons of paint and decorate canvases, a papered floor, and each other’s white T-shirts.

As part of the lease, FingerPaint will take possession of Borders’ former parking lot, currently a paid lot. The company plans to implement a program letting charity organizations use the parking lot on certain nights and weekends to raise money for their causes.

"We have been very blessed to be able to give back to so many local charities since we were founded. The parking lot will provide us with another vehicle to help nonprofits, pun intended," Mitzen said. The company also plans to use the highly visible Broadway windows to permit advertising of local events, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC or the Farmers' Market.

“To relet Borders is crucial to the center of downtown success,” said Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson. “FingerPaint Marketing moving in there is great news.”

“The former Borders building was the number 1 significant vacancy in downtown, so it is great to be sure the property will be active again,” said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “The people moving in will work, shop, and dine downtown, and will attract others to the area. Since FingerPaint Marketing is local, it’s committed to adding value to downtown.”

Renovations on the inside of the building are expected to begin shortly, with an anticipated move-in date early in 2013.



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