In 2013 we had a lot of chaos going on in our office. We were struggling to absorb our recent acquisition, LZT Architects, and integrate a lot of new staff. The challenges of merging two firm cultures, rapid growth, and managing multiple locations are something I will talk more about in the future.
Added to the mix was that our lease in Round Rock was up soon. We had a delightful creative space at 102 East Main Street in downtown Round Rock that our clients and employees just loved. We also had enjoyed about 8 years of below-market rent. It was clear to me, however, that the gravy days were over. Our landlord wanted to sell the building. Also, downtown Round Rock had been discovered. It was becoming Round Rock’s 6th Street, and everyone knew it. That meant that a new lease, if possible, would be much more expensive than we were used to.
Additionally I wanted to own our building. I wanted to benefit financially from downtown Round Rock’s renaissance, much like Michael Antenora had from South Congress. We knew that Round Rock was investing heavily in downtown and there was a possibility for a new mixed-use zoning that would further enhance the desirability of downtown.
We settled on a building on the 3rd block, just past the library. It was perfectly located. It was a reasonable price. The seller was ready to sell. It was also very ugly. See the picture above, which I clipped from Bing maps. You can still see it online! Anyway, it was an ugly duckling for sure.
I could totally visualize it as our office, with a few minor changes of course. But it became both a source of extreme division within our firm and our best financial decision to date.
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