Baskervill broadens footprint with new offices in Charlotte and Denver
Long-time Richmond architectural firm Baskervill completes its 125th anniversary with two new offices, following the opening of another that has gained a global foothold.
The company announced Thursday that it has opened outposts in Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver; and Gdansk, Poland, the company’s first office outside the United States
The locations expand the reach of the company, which previously included its downtown headquarters and offices in DC and Orlando, where it expanded in 2013 and 2017, respectively.
President Bob Clark said Baskervill’s Polish office has been in operation for three years, while the Charlotte and Denver offices recently opened.
“We realized we never announced it,” Clark said of the Polish office. “We just did it and it turned out stronger than we expected. When we were about to announce Charlotte and Denver, we realized, ‘You know, we’ve never talked about Poland.’ It’s a big deal for us, so we wanted to make sure we give him the love too.”
Clark said the Gdansk office was born out of an effort to identify and recruit new talent in 2019, when he said the industry was facing a labor shortage.
“In 2019 it was extremely difficult to find workers. We opened it up as an outsourcing opportunity in 2019 and then we quickly learned that the talent and education of the people available there was outstanding,” he said. “We were very satisfied and excited about the level of talent and skills we found there.”
He said the Polish office currently has a total of 15 employees, while the Denver and Charlotte offices have five and four, respectively. With a total of 170 employees, the company is looking to create new positions in each of the new offices involving all current employees who are willing to relocate. The Poland and Charlotte offices are managed by employees who previously worked in Richmond and DC
Clark described the Charlotte office as a long-term strategic move that falls between his DC and Orlando outposts, while the Denver office grew out of current work there and a desire by a handful of employees to relocate there.
“We looked at the North Carolina market for years. We finally had the right mix of people to pull the trigger and execute Charlotte,” he said. “Denver was actually more of an opportunity. We currently have several projects in the Denver market and some employees have said after COVID that they would like to live in Denver.”
Current projects in Denver include a seven-story, 153-room Cambria hotel in the city’s RiNo area. That project broke ground over the summer, BizSense sister site BusinessDen reported in August. Other out-of-state projects include a CitizenM hotel the company is designing in Austin, Texas.
Locally, recent achievements included the NOVA Aquatics facility at the Regency and the Gather & Hem Bar and other renovations at the Hilton Richmond Downtown hotel. It designs the new Virginia Supreme Court building, and in Williamsburg the company helped design the Hearth memorial at the College of William & Mary, which honors enslaved workers who built the university.
The company has been in its new digs at The James Center for two years, where it moved its headquarters to the Canal Crossing building in Shockoe Slip in 2020 after 17 years.
The move coincided with the arrival of COVID, which impacted Baskervill’s hospitality business and caused the company to go through a round of layoffs, followed months later by furloughs as funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program ran out .
Clark said the company has overcome these challenges and is now focused on smart but steady growth.
“I think we were the prime example of using the PPP correctly. We’ve held on to a lot of people during the downturn and we’ve been very grateful for the PPP opportunity that has given us this,” he said.
“We do a lot of hospitality and the hospitality market and hotels have probably been the first and hardest hit by the pandemic. But as we emerged from the pandemic for our industry in mid-2021, we saw a tremendous amount of work ahead,” he said. “From there we ramped back up and tried to be smart and hire carefully for the long term.”
Baskervill’s new outposts complement other office moves among architects in Richmond.
510 Architects are planning to move Scott’s Addition to Northside next year after the owners bought a building on Chamberlayne Avenue. Dwell Design Studio recently opened a Richmond office in Scott’s Addition, and Marvel opened a downtown outpost earlier this year.