CEO Carl Erickson has been joking with his co-workers that their new 11,000 square foot office space at 1034 Wealthy is a lot like having their very own baby elephant.
“The elephant gestation periods take about 20 months, which is how long it took us, and then when mama elephant has her baby it takes days, and this weekend took days and was like that final, big push,” says Erickson, whose custom software development firm opened this week for business in the fully updated historic building after 19 months and $2 million of renovation work.
Built in 1914, the space at 1034 Wealthy St. SE has much history between its diverse array of past tenants, having been home to a woodworking shop, a blacksmith, a car dealership showroom and repair shop, and a grocery store before becoming the new Atomic Object offices.
“I’ve been astounded by what a great job our project manager and interior designer (Mary O’Neill, Atomic Object’s business manager) and the architect did on the finishing touches and the aesthetics and combining the old cleaned-up materials with the historic building,” Erickson says. “The new fits and finishes are just beautiful.”
By taking out a portion of the existing second floor and adding a community cafe space on the first level, the design and construction teams were able to connect the two floors in a way that preserved the open floor plan and embraced the natural lighting boost made possible by many massive windows to the street outside — something Erickson says was important to retaining his company’s existing workplace culture.
“It’s important culturally for people to have a sense that it’s not just like, ‘Oh, those guys upstairs I never see,’ and we did that with working the cafe into the front of the space, taking out part of the floor and tying it all together that way,” he says.
Since launching in 2001, Atomic Object has housed its headquarters just a few blocks down the street at 941 Wealthy Street. However, Erickson says the new space — especially the transformation of the adjacent parcel of land from crumbling concrete to a new outdoor garden space, complete with a wall-sized rolling garage door to seamlessly connect the indoors to the outdoors — affords his team a much more direct connection to the people and places in the surrounding neighborhood.
“I sat out there Saturday when we were directing movers, and I was writing a blog post and I had my dogs with me and they were running around out there and it was just cool how many people I chatted with as they walked by — all sorts of people that I haven’t yet met,” he says. “…It’s a whole new level for us getting connected to people in a neighborhood we’ve occupied since 2003… When we were 200 yards down the street, we just didn’t have as much of a connection.”
Having almost doubled in size since 2010, Erickson says the new space leaves his team plenty of room for more growth, even if Atomic Object isn’t necessarily rushing toward it on purpose.
“Our business philosophy is to concentrate on being as good as we can possibly be. We like to say great,” says Erickson, adding that because Atomic’s business philosophy has earned them such a good reputation, demand for their services continues to grow — and so does pressure to grow the organization as a whole alongside it.
So, as the staff begins to settle into their new digs, Erickson says they’re taking their time to appreciate their neighborhood through a fresh lens and taking on the future one step at a time.
“…While we feel an obligation to head that way, at the same, time we’re selfish and love the way we work and Atomic’s culture and how we know each other and who we are and how we interact with our clients — we don’t want to change that, so we’re figuring out how to deal with growth in such a way that it doesn't spoil what we love.”
For more information, visit www.atomicobject.com
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Atomic Object