Optimus hosts 20th and last Block Party Friday

This Friday, Aug. 7 marks Optimus Block Party 20th annual Block Party and its (sob) last.  The production/post company has sold building at 161 E. Grand and will move into what sounds like be the ultimate in space in the Wrigley Building, at 410 N. Michigan.

President/partner Tom Duff says the two-floor build-out will begin mid-month and the company’s 90-some employees anticipate settling into their new offices by Thanksgiving.

At 38,000-sq. ft., the new 11th and 12th floor space will have the largest footprint among the city’s highest-volume production/post houses.

While the move will be “bittersweet,” says Duff, “we’re glad to be moving on.” 

Attending the legendary party for the last time are an expected 3,000 guests from advertising and production, from throughout 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. at its Grand Avenue and St. Clair location.

In addition to Optimus’ 90 person staff, its entire Santa Monica staff of 12 will fly in for the occasion. 

Guests will again enjoy the usual hot dogs and ice cream trucks and catering by Volare, the Italian restaurant across the street.

No word about Optimus’ special surprise guests, but they’re always unexpected and fun.

The party was first organized in 1996 to celebrate the purchase of Optimus by Duff and original partners Glen Noren, Randy Palmer and Scott Yurks, from its unlikely owner, Anheuser-Busch.  The St. Louis-based brewery at purchased it four years earlier from editor Jimmy Smyth, who founded the post house in 1973.

The partners sold their five-story building to developers last after the five-story building had served as a film business hub for more than 50 years.  

Dana HulrusJonah MuellerOther Optimus news: Production division One at Optimus hired senior producer Jonah Mueller, who’d been freelancing for the past year, and Optimus promoted Dana Hulas to offline editor from assistant.

Mueller, who’d also produced at Radar Studios, has worked on spots for the Chicago Cubs, Crystal Light, McDonald’s, Motorola, Nintendo and more, and produced a feature doc, “Sign Painters,” and many music videos. 

Hultras, who started as an intern at Optimus in 2008 after graduating Columbia College, was promoted to senior assistant in 2013.