Today at about 11, I was asked if I could accompany a Principal Architect to meet with a possible client and do a site walk of his buildings today at 3.  He explained that it would be a TI (tenant improvement) for two residential towers in the city.  If you aren’t aware, TI’s are where we have an existing building – empty or occupied – and you design and furnish the space. They can be as simple as re-selecting furniture, to doing a full build out with architectural plans complete with a permit from the city for major renovation and construction. Often TI’s are managed solely by an interior designer. Currently if it is over 3000 square feet, an architectural licensing stamp is required.

We met with the facilities director for the two buildings and discussed where his project would fall in to the TI scope. First we started with a tour of the building.

The building was built in the 70’s and from the looks of it; the common/shared spaces haven’t been remodeled since. This particular facility has 192 units with 1-3 bedroom condos that are individually owned. Remodeling of the individual units will not be a part of the work scope.  An important factor in moving forward is that 75% of the occupants are at the age of retirement and older.  One concept for the building would be re-purposing the buildings for a younger demographic.


See the large fireplace “island” in the back? It has been a long time since I have seen one of those. The space really feels this dark.


That is totally a door from the 70’s!


This space could be re-purposed to really take advantage of this view.


Can you see the faux wood stage in the center, back? Not much space to bust a dance move!  And yes, that is a mirror column.


Notice the “popcorn” ceiling? That has asbestos all over it!


This carpet is totally 70″s…but I would totally still dig it, if it wasn’t so old.



This is very uninviting and a little scary.


Can you imagine walking down this hall everyday to get to your home?


This has to be the most unpleasant room in the whole building; Yet it is in a prime location with great views.

After reviewing the buildings, we discussed that this project would be mainly cosmetic; raising the level of the finishes and furniture of the common/shared spaces.  A new, fresh look would be a great and easy way to market to a younger demographic, and raise the level of experience for those currently calling it home.  Either way, some work has to be done now to help these buildings turn into a real project. We need to present to the owner some costs for us to do the project which are generally based at this point on square footage estimates. Also, with so many stake holders in the project (the individual unit owners) a presentation needs to be given to show what could become of the spaces on a limited budget. The thought is that by all of them putting some money down to help renovate you can get more for your money in the long run. For example, if each owner contributes $10,000, that multiplied by 192 units would give them $1,920,000 for renovations. By putting $10,000 down now, they could raise individual condo real-estate values by more than that amount.  This is all exploratory for sure, but it helps to see the potential.

To make this presentation, we will need to come together on a vision for the buildings and then communicate that potential with photo-realistic interior renderings and data to back it up. Our work now is considered “marketing” and we may or may not get paid for this work. It is all in hopes that we can land the project later and future work it could lead to.

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