FatWallet renews lease in Beloit

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Ryan Washatka, President of FatWallet, stands in the lobby of the company's Beloit office, 80 and 100 E. Grand Ave. FatWallet recently extended its lease of the city-owned property by an additional 12 months.

It appears FatWallet, an online coupon and discount company that moved from Rockton, Ill. to Beloit about a year ago, is staying put in downtown Beloit.

The company has extended the lease for its unique, downtown office space by an additional 12 months, the company and city economic development officials recently announced.

FatWallet’s original, one-year lease started April 11, 2011 and came with a second-year option. And in February, the company executed that option, ensuring its presence here into 2013.

Located at 80 and 100 E. Grand Ave. in two buildings that amount to more than 23,000 square feet, FatWallet has continued to expand since its northern migration, and now city officials hope the company and its more than 60 employees will stick around for the long run.

The building, a portion of which juts out over the Rock River, formerly housed offices for Kerry Ingredients and Flavours and is owned by the city.

Andrew Janke, the city’s chief economic development officer, said Beloit officials would like to see FatWallet sign a long-term lease or buy the building outright.

“They are considering those two options,” he said.

According to Beloit Daily News archives, FatWallet’s original lease had a net per month rent of $7,716.11.

FatWallet executives and employees have thoroughly enjoyed their new surroundings in Beloit, said president Ryan Washatka, noting that workers regularly patronize nearby businesses.

“I think our employees have embraced it,” he said.

A long-term relationship could very well develop, he added.

“We’re talking to Larry (City Manager Larry Arft) and Andrew (Janke) about options for the long-term as we think about the future of FatWallet and where we want to go,” Washatka said.

What lies ahead for FatWallet, however, remains somewhat unclear.

In September, FatWallet was acquired by San Francisco-based Ebates, also an Internet company. With a new, broader corporate structure and ties to the country’s tech-heavy West Coast, FatWallet and Ebates executives have yet to figure out what makes the most sense going forward, Washatka said.

However, he did say staying in Beloit remains an attractive option for several reasons, including Beloit College — a good source for potential workers. Executives from Ebates recently visited the Beloit facility and were impressed, Washatka said.

Walking away from FatWallet’s Beloit offices unimpressed would be hard to do. The space is filled with cozy features — a fully-stocked cafeteria, arcade games, a fitness center and more.

The company and its workplace philosophy has caught the eye of big time, national media outlets including the New York Times, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, among others.

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