Growing architecture firm moving headquarters to Findlay Market area
A fast-growing architectural firm is moving its headquarters to the Findlay Market area of Over-the-Rhine.
New Republic Architecture, a firm founded by Graham Kalbli in 2014 that is currently based in Pendleton, has signed a five-year lease for a 3,900-square-foot, street-level space at 1936 Race St. The firm expects to move into its new office, which nearly doubles the size of its space at 433 E. 13th St., at the beginning of 2022.
Kalbli said housing has been a driver of the firm’s continued growth. He expects to end 2021 with billings of more than $2 million. That’s up from about $1 million in 2018, and up from last year’s $1.85 million.
“We had a great year in 2020 and we decided to plow profits and invest back in the business with a new space that allows us to expand a little bit more and invest in our people,” Kalbli told me.
New Republic’s work is focused on single-family homes, tax credit and affordable housing, historic rehabilitation and multifamily/mixed-use. The firm now has 17 total employees, including two part-time and one contract employee. Kalbli hired five employees this year.
For now, he’s focused on the move and getting his expanded team settled. “We want to get everybody acclimated and onboard doing things the New Republic way,” Kalbli said.
The firm isn’t moving far, and its landlord will remain the same. New Republic worked directly with Model Group on its new lease, as the firm was leasing in another Model Group building.
Matt Reckman, vice president of property management at Model Group, said the office space at 1936 Race St. was essentially turnkey. Originally it was laid out to house multiple tenants with a courtyard space that was enclosed to become the kitchen and bathrooms. But New Republic saw it as a way to create pods of employees with each section connected by one common area.
“They get the benefits of both, not just one big open office,” Reckman said.
Because New Republic stayed within Model Group’s portfolio, Model Group will void the firm’s existing lease when it switches over. The space at 433 E. 13th St. will be available as turnkey office space, as New Republic is leaving much of its furniture.
“It’s a great opportunity for someone who wants street-level office, right down the street from everything in Pendleton, but not on the main street,” Reckman said.
Kalbli was attracted to the Race Street space because it is street level, it is close to the amenities of Findlay Market, and it gives New Republic room to increase its staff by about 20%.
“We love being in the thick of it,” Kalbli said. “We want to see and be seen by the community we serve.”
Kalbli’s firm has been back in the office since June 2020. He said his staff is too collaborative to be working from home.
“We need that daily interaction with our staff and our designers,” he said. “We’re kind of a boutique firm. Part of the experience for our clients is working with us, really collaborating. We’ve got to get together and roll up our sleeves and work together. And that doesn’t quite happen over virtual.”
New Republic’s recent and current projects include John Arthur Flats in Northside, Perseverance in Over-the-Rhine and Melrose Place in Walnut Hills. While the firm is working on some $10 million projects now, Kalbli said they have the ability to go larger, with some $40 million to $50 million projects in the planning stages.