By: DAN SHINGLER
Akron’s Bowery District lands Burgess & Niple
The Akron office of Burgess & Niple is moving, but not far.
It’s taking up residence nearby, in the city’s Bowery District.
Dan Johnson, Akron manager for the Columbus-based, national engineering and architecture firm, said his firm wanted to maintain its presence in the city’s core and to move to a center of activity and development as it competes for talent.
The Bowery satisfied both requirements. It’s bustling, and it’s only a few blocks down South Main Street from Burgess & Niple’s current home at 50 S. Main in Akron Centre Plaza, more commonly known as the Chase Building.
“Our office has been downtown for 50 years,” Johnson said. “Our lease was up, and we were just looking around. We knew we’d want to move somewhere else downtown, and the Bowery was a great option.”
The firm is working to move into just more than 8,300 square feet of the Bowery, on the first floor a couple of doors down from Crave restaurant. Its new home will be in what was once the Osterman Furniture company’s building at 168 S. Main St.
“It’s a great fit for us,” said Bowery developer and Welty Building Co. CEO Donzell Taylor, who noted Burgess & Niple’s profile as a large professional service firm in a small local office is the kind of business the Bowery targets.
Burgess & Niple currently has just more than 6,100 square feet and takes up just less than half of the sixth floor in the Chase Building. The size is comparable because of differences in how common space is used in the two buildings, Johnson said.
“We knew we’d want to move somewhere in this (Chase) building or somewhere else downtown,” he said.
The firm has 17 employees downtown. From Akron, it does mostly civil engineering work with a focus on water, sewer and related infrastructure projects, Johnson said.
Burgess & Niple, like many firms, is on the hunt for new employees. Johnson said he hopes the new offices, near the Civic Theatre and an easy walk to RubberDucks Park and other attractions, will help attract talent.
“We wanted something that was an exciting location for employees. We’ll have patios that will overlook Lock 3, and we’ll be right on Main Street,” Johnson said.
Main Street might be where most of the visible activity is, but the back of Burgess & Niple’s new space shows off what might be the Bowery’s best feature: stunning views of the canal along with walking and gathering areas, architecture and art.
Ironically, the canal that anchors the entire setting and has only been uncovered in recent years was one of Burgess & Niple’s first jobs in Akron, at the behest of civic leaders with a vastly different view of downtown architecture than their recent successors.
“One of the first projects we did was the canal enclosure,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he hopes the firm can move into the new offices by the end of April. As of Tuesday, March 21, the space was in the process of being finished. Taylor said that work is going well.
“We’re committed to leaving (the Chase Building) by the end of May, so we’re hoping to move by the end of April,” Johnson said.