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Real Estate Bisnow
The largest commercial real estate publication in the United States.
January 9, 2012 

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Remember when real estate offices used to look like reading rooms in country clubs? (And milk was only a nickel.) Now they’re more enticing, relaxing, or both. We snooped around town to catch a peek at some of our favorite digs.
5G Studio Collaborative's Scott Lowe, Hoang Dang, Jacob Tindall, Wade Lowe
We found 5G Studio Collaborative partners Scott Lowe, Hoang Dang, Jacob Tindall (he's got a decent angle on the 1 ball, let's see if he can get some English on it), and director of biz development Wade Lowe shooting pool in their offices. Scott tells us 5G first opened in a small West End space working long hours and when they relocated to this almost 9,000 SF pad about a year ago at 311 N Market St, the partners wanted to do something to help everyone decompress and relax. “We designed a Ping Pong table that converted to a large conference table; that started us off in the direction of fun things to do at the office.” Scott says the partners and managers don’t have private offices, which he thinks enhances the work ethic. “The best thing about our office is that we produce kick butt work and have a lot of fun doing it."
CBRE moved into its new 67k SF office space at 2100 McKinney early last year with a goal of creating an exciting environment, says senior managing director Michael Caffey. With terraces facing downtown and Café RISE, a cafeteria that serves a hot catered lunch daily to employees (partially subsidized by the company), Michael says the space has exceeded expectations in creating an open office environment with a no closed-door policy from top management down. The space has 32 break-out/conference rooms to enhance collaboration and is LEED Gold. We also hear it serves a tasty French dip, but that's just a rumor.
The Berry Firm's Bo Berry
Warm colors and progressive art creating a modern yet comfortable feel. That’s what Berry Firm owner/managing director Bo Berry wanted to create in his law firm at the Adolphus Tower at 1412 Main St when the firm moved in about a year ago. More than just an attorney, Bo did all the decorating. He designed the reception area ceiling, which has different levels of light fixtures, and the out-of-this-world reception desk (which resembles a flying saucer). It took 20 revisions before he got it the way he wanted: a bi-level space that’s wider at the apex than the base with a higher level for the receptionist to talk to people and a lower level for the transactional purposes. “I strongly believe in being comfortable when I’m working,” Bo says. “Our culture is relaxed camaraderie, team work, and confidence.”
When we visited Corgan’s new CEO Bob Morris a while back, we loved the rooftop deck and view of Dallas. Corgan's Ann Franks tells us staffers love the office (completed in February 2007 at 401 N Houston St) from the logo gate to the deck (where a snowball fight broke out last year). Office features: a grand staircase, collaborative work spaces, and a presentation center with custom art pieces constructed from old blueprints, Corgan marketing brochures, and Friday Forum posters.
Republic Title's Bill Kramer
Since 1974, Republic Title’s executive chairman Bill Kramer (whom we snapped in his Uptown office, 2626 Howell S) has been collecting the work of artist Arie Van Selm amassing almost 130 pieces spread between Republic’s offices in Park Cities, Turtle Creek, Plano, and Dallas. “What I like about his work is that you get a reaction,” Bill tells us. When people go into an office, they often don’t notice the art any more than they notice the furniture. It may be nice, but with Arie’s artwork, people look at it and have an opinion; whether they love it or hate it, they talk about it. At Republic, each employee is a curator and can tell the story about the art, Bill says.
HKS: Dave Urling and Sonya Dew
We checked out the HKS HQ, which was born from a 1925-era brick and concrete warehouse (and brewery) at 1919 McKinney. Here’s senior interior designer Dave Urling and project analyst Sonya Dew showing off some of the raw architectural elements, including exposed brick walls and concrete structure. The interior was renovated to emphasize those; the exterior renovation work included the removal of lead paint, repointing, brick sealing, and installing more than 250 new windows. The goal: office spaces that are open and flexible to reflect the firm’s team-oriented approach, says HKS associate principal Trish Martinek.
Page Southerland Page
PageSoutherlandPage’s 1800 Main St office exemplifies adaptive reuse and historical preservation of the 1943-era Mercantile Bank Building, which sat empty for more than a decade. The former bank lobby was transformed into a contemporary space opening up the first and second floors (including a mezzanine) to bring in natural light. Street-level escalators were removed and replaced with stairs to visually open the space to spark conversations and collaboration, says PSP VP Mary Miano Sleeper. The original marble around the elevator core was refurbished along with original murals by artist Millard Sheets and metal work on the elevator doors. Now there's a public reception and meeting area, open office space, and conference rooms and, yes, the old vault is still in the basement. The project is in line to receive LEED Silver.
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