October 12, 2016 | Liz Austin

Recapping a Night of Craft Beer and Conversations

At a meet-and-greet in its brand new St. Louis location, Avatara partnered with Green Street to talk about the importance of tech enabled office space, and how location can make all the difference in achieving your company’s vision.

Last Wednesday night (10/5), Avatara CEO Rob McCormick and Green Street Managing Principal Phil Hulse opened up 2351 Market Street for a discussion on the power of tech-enabled office space to transform companies.

One of Green Street’s landmark developments, 2351 serves as Avatara’s world headquarters. Last year, the web-hosting and cloud service company found itself in urgent need of more space, so McCormick began searching for a new location in downtown St. Louis. The building, which had previously belonged to Wells Fargo, seemed at first like an unlikely candidate for the relocation.

 

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“Look at the picture on the left,” said McCormick, pointing at a picture of the old building. “I remember the day I was driving around with Phil looking for a space, and as someone who’s not really looking for office building-style space, something that looks very corporate, when he pulled up to that building I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s no way this is going to work.’”

The old building has good bones, highway access, and strong street presence, but it looked like a stodgy 70s-style office. “It had that old lighthouse look,” said Patrick Knobloch, a project architect with the design firm Arcturis, which worked on the building renovation.

After Arcturis and Green Street completed renovations, the new building became a particularly sleek addition to the burgeoning St. Louis tech scene. Flooded with natural light, the main floor is an open workspace with a large lounge area and patio, while the lower floor features server towers, a staging area, and loading dock. As a data operations company, Avatara has specific needs like high bandwidth and extra fiberoptic cables, so they pre-built the facility to their exact specifications.

A New Partnership is Born

McCormick announced that Avatara and Green Street are partnering to offer tech businesses office space with built-in infrastructure. “It’s difficult to find a space ready for a tech company to move into without having to spend a lot of money on the servers and bandwidth at the front-end,” said McCormick.

To help tech companies find great spaces in record time, Green Street finds and develops properties while Avatara installs the data utilities. The goal is to get teams out of incubators and into their own offices. Phil Hulse described how physical expansions help companies realize their vision. “Real estate is a magical path to success — it lets us be who we want to be. Everybody has a different mission, and we make that mission real.”

Hulse then explained how Green Street and Avatara will streamline the startup expansion process.

“We have a team that takes you through the whole building procedure. You don’t have to hire designers and contractors — we have that in-house. We sit down and meet to understand your mission and come up with a game plan. Young companies don’t have the wherewithal to put this in place themselves. We spend a lot of money in return for your commitment to sign a long-term lease.”

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2351 Market was the perfect venue for Hulse to get his message across. As the audience enjoyed snacks and beer from Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. (another Green Street client), the bright new office drove home his larger point. Hulse and McCormick looked ready to bring their sustainable vision for tech-enabled offices out of the room and across St. Louis.

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