315 Franklin: A Fresh Take On Office Space In Downtown Huntsville

Creating a dynamic office space that’s inventive, flexible, and practical is a challenge, but it’s a project that Will Brannon and his brother Curt Brannon were willing to undertake. As Co-owners of 315 Franklin Street, they had a vision for Downtown Huntsville that included the addition of a space that would not only be unique, but also serve a purpose that would benefit the city.

Larger cities like San Diego and New York have long embraced the concept of shared office spaces, but the trend has made its way to Huntsville and has already attracted several dynamic businesses.

“Companies are becoming more open to the concept of less traditional methods when expanding,” Will explained. “The purpose of 315 Franklin was to create an experience. When you walk inside these doors, we want you to feel a certain way and reap the benefits that the space can offer.”

When faced with the mission of redeveloping one of downtown’s spaces on Franklin Street, Will and Curt seized the opportunity to “invest in Huntsville’s growth.”

Building A Community

What does a shared office space look like and how does it function? At 315 Franklin, you’ll find several amenities that point tenants to one goal—building a community. Collaborative office spaces are growing in popularity, according to Will. But 315 takes it a step further by offering desks to employees of different companies who can use the space, its conference room, and rooftop terrace all without the expense of renting a dedicated office.

“For instance, if you had a business that recently signed a 5-year lease on a new office space to meet their current needs but grew rapidly, our concept provides flexible, dynamic space and bandwidth,” assured Will. “It not only gives them a space to do their job, but ideally, they will be working elbow-to-elbow with people from complementary companies. We’ve created an ecosystem that’s conducive to networking, building relationships, and referring business to each other.”

“Imagine you are an architect with a vision,” he went on. “You will be in the same office with subcontractors and developers that will offer insight into your project that you may otherwise have missed out on. That’s just one benefit of the space.”

With the addition of new businesses and an increased focus on the “live, work, play,” lifestyle, Downtown Huntsville is leading the way in new, experiential ideas. 315 Franklin is a progressive space that shows the city has a lot of growth on the horizon.

Huntsville’s Investment In Growth

“If you quit seeing change in Huntsville, check your pulse,” joked Will. “The city’s growth as a whole makes projects like this possible. Thanks to Downtown Huntsville, Inc., and the leaders who want to see Huntsville grow and change, we are enjoying the benefits of larger cities.”

The bottom floor of 315 is already fully leased to Haufe, a next-generation Talent Management/HR company that “enables companies to attract, engage, and retain the top talent they need to be leaders in their industries.” The company’s previous headquarters was in San Francisco, but they recently made their move to Huntsville.

“Haufe was coming to Huntsville regardless, which says a lot about our city,” said Will. “But they were attracted to 315 Franklin because of the concept—the availability of shared space upstairs pacified any concerns they had of outgrowing their new office. If they grow, they can simply rent a desk upstairs and expand as needed. They were a great candidate for the space and we are glad to have them.”

Will went on to share that much of the success with the project is due to relationships with trusted commercial real estate agents, developers, and leaders that believed in the idea. But it’s a project with no end in sight.

A Vision Evolving Daily

“First of all, this is not what I thought I’d be doing in my career,” clarified Will. “My intention was always to go to medical school and become a doctor. After working in a hospital for a while I discovered that it wasn’t for me, so I started from square one. I began working for an experiential marketing company and it became my new passion.”

Thanks to the background in marketing, Will said he and his team were able to research trends in larger cities and envision what Huntsville will become.

“The thing about this space that’s so great is that there’s always room to change the vision—it’s always growing,” he said.  “We always have the option of making a version two. We want to hear from people on what else would make this space even better. We have the rooftop terrace, that’s something people have come to appreciate in a work environment.”

At the end of the day, a space needs to have value. Will says that making the space work with your story is where you can find that value.

Telling Your Story With A Space

Many of the amenities in 315 Franklin are designed to be flexible and, at the same time, easily controlled. When considering the value of the space, Will and Curt wanted to ensure that it was beneficial for all age groups and working styles.

“We made sure there is room for both isolation and collaboration,” assured Will. “Some people here like to have quiet—and we have space for that—while others prefer a more collaborative environment. Making the space work with both is a necessity in order to create the most positive workplace.”

All of the desks in 315 Franklin were custom made by SCSWORX in Huntsville, the company where Will currently serves as President. In fact, members of Will’s sales and creative teams have desks on the top floor. As an experiential marketing company, SCSWORX helps companies build better tangible brand experiences. In the case of 315 Franklin, the brand is the space itself.

“We designed all of the desks with wheels on them, because we never know what the next day will hold,” said Will. “Tomorrow may be a day that we want to collaborate, but today we may need our space. Simple things like the addition of those wheels make the space flexible and controllable.”

Thankful For Recognition

Recently, 315 Franklin was on a list of possible Downtown Huntsville projects that were nominated for Project of the Year. While the award went to the deserving Preservation Company, Will said 315 Franklin was honored to be on the same list.

“Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as the other nominees was incredible,” beamed Will. “I held those projects on a pedestal, and the fact that people acknowledged what we were doing here as deserving of a nomination—well, we are overwhelmed. We have so many people to thank—Peter Lowe, the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission, Downtown Huntsville, Inc., and many more—for believing in projects like this. We love to see the city grow and change, and it’s even better to know we were a small part of it.”

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haley_squareHALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

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The Garage Adds Outdoor Speaker System By Mozaic Audio Video

If you visited The Garage at Clinton Row this holiday season, you may have noticed the cheerful Christmas music filling the air while shoppers hopped from store to store.

Crunkleton is happy to share that a new permanent speaker system was recently installed to the exterior of the retail center and will continue to enhance the shopping experience year-round through a sleek, stylish system designed by Mozaic Audio Video Integration.

Michael Johnson, CEO of Mozaic, led the installation and said the new system will give retailers the ability to control music from a variety of sources.

“It’s nice to have the added ambiance while visiting the boutiques,” stated Michael. “Downtown Huntsville has been good to us and being part of The Garage is very rewarding. We hope everyone enjoys the music as they browse the shops.”

Now that the holidays are over, the speakers will tune in to a variety of modern playlists that will help set the tone for a leisurely shopping experience.

“The addition of the new speaker system will help us build the right atmosphere when shopping at The Garage,” explained Wesley Crunkleton, developer of the property. “Music can set the pace for an enjoyable retail experience, and that’s what we strive to deliver.”

Be sure to visit The Garage at Clinton Row in Downtown Huntsville. You can also follow The Garage on Facebook and Instagram!

Mozaic AV—An eye for design

With 13 years of AV experience already under his belt, Michael envisioned a new way to improve the quality and design of audio/visual installations. After much planning and preparation, he opened Mozaic Audio Video Integration. His background in graphic design allowed him to create one-of-a-kind systems—both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.

Photo courtesy Mozaic AV.

“Mozaic is made up of specialists from a variety of backgrounds,” explained Michael. “We are a team of artists, craftsmen, and designers that look at projects with a different set of eyes. Our various skillsets help us deliver systems and setups that are simple, elegant, and clean. Don’t get me wrong; we are definitely AV nerds. But we put a different spin on things.”

Overcoming aesthetic challenges

A three-year-old business, Mozaic has had its hands on several major projects downtown, as well as many commercial, residential, and personal assignments. After designing AV systems for Elitaire Boutique and Roosevelt & Company: Gentleman’s Supply, the next step was setting up a sound system for the development as a whole.

Photo courtesy Mozaic AV.

“There are always challenges to overcome when designing a new audio video system,” said Michael. “It’s important for us to expand our definition of a job well done. You can’t narrow your focus to only sound or image quality; you have to consider how it works and how people will interact with it. If a system is unreliable or hard to use, whether it sounds or looks good is of little use. Design is not just how something looks and sounds—to quote Steve Jobs, ‘design is how it works.’”

Mozaic creates customized systems that can be completely hidden from view—something that interior designers have expressed thanks for in past projects.

Photo courtesy Mozaic AV.

“One of our more recent assignments was the audio/video design for Crunkleton’s office,” said Michael. “In regards to that project, we had several specific parameters we had to work within. The Crunkleton office has a glass panel wall, and the challenge was hiding all of the electronics. In the end, we delivered an impressive setup that works very well with the space.”

Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate conference room.

Adapting to changing technology

Michael stressed that in order to be successful in the audio/video industry, you have to have knowledge beyond standard equipment. Experts need to understand network solutions, climate control, lighting control, and energy efficiency—all areas that Mozaic has tackled.

“These days, everyone wants to be able to control systems via iPhones, iPads, and Android devices,” assured Michael. “We create systems that connect with those electronics while tailoring the look to each client’s needs.”

Because technology is constantly evolving, the team at Mozaic is always busy learning new methods to stay ahead.

“Changing electronics and tech make things more difficult, yes,” said Michael. “But we love doing the hard work and delivering on the promises we make to our clients. Seeing the customer’s face when we exceed their expectations is why we do what we do.”

To learn more about Mozaic Audio Video Integration, visit www.mozaicav.com. Or, follow the company on Facebook.

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haley_square
HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

 

Trend Report For 2018: A Pivotal Time for Brick and Mortar Retail

Possibly not since the first enclosed mall opened in 1956 in Edina, Minnesota, has brick and mortar retail experienced such a pivotal point in its history. Most would attribute the changing retail environment to the effects of e-commerce and the Goliath that is Amazon; however, we believe there are more powerful factors at work.

In-store brick and mortar retail sales accounted for more than 89% of total retail sales in 2016, and early indications seem to point to 2017 being the best holiday shopping season in 4 years. So, if people are still shopping at brick and mortar stores, why do we hear the term “retail apocalypse” every time we turn on CNBC or pick up a Wall Street Journal?

The End Of The Department Store Era—Not Brick And Mortar

What we are seeing is not the demise of brick and mortar retail, but more the end of the department store era. Department-store-anchored malls that sold everything from apparel and electronics to furniture and home appliances dominated the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. But specialized big-box retailers have steadily eroded the department store model over the last three decades.

Eventually, we were left with malls anchored by department stores that focused on just a few categories centered on apparel. Does this mean that we will soon see the end of department stores and enclosed malls? Yes and no.

We will continue to see enclosed malls struggle to compete with convenience/grocery-anchored centers, experience-based shopping destinations, open-air lifestyle centers like Bridge Street Town Centre, and local specialty destinations such as The Garage at Clinton Row. Many malls will be able to adapt and survive with the addition of entertainment venues, hotels, and even office space. Others will simply disappear from the landscape to be replaced by a more modern retail and entertainment experience as we are seeing take place at the site of the old Madison Square Mall.

As far as the old department store is concerned, we are already seeing the same type of adaption into a more mixed offering of services and experiences. Many department stores are starting to reduce the size of the sales floor to make room for cafés, salons, pop-up shops, and even fitness concepts. Not all department stores will survive, but the ones that do will be more focused on the high-end specialty categories and customer experience. Instead of existing for exclusively for retail sales, they will provide a total experience and numerous services in one convenient location.

What Does The Future Look Like?

What can consumers expect the retail environment to look like in the future? Currently, the trend is what is called omni-channel retail. This is a combination of brick and mortar stores with online and mobile sales. As evidenced by Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, e-commerce retailers are getting into the physical storefront game. It appears they understand the value of physical storefronts and their impact on the bottom-line. Sure, online shopping is convenient, but does it result in sales?

Research has shown that over 40% of items purchased online are returned. Furthermore, consumers make a purchase at a rate of 20% of the time when they walk into an actual store. That rate drops to 3% when visiting a website. The successful retailer of the future will be able to combine online, mobile/social media, and physical locations to create a positive experience for the customer.

One issue that is flying under the radar is the new tax reform bill and its impact on retailers. A reduction in the corporate tax rate could have a significant influence on the ability of brick and mortar retailers to compete with e-commerce retailers. With the reduction of the corporate tax rate, the savings experienced by the retailers can be used for an investment into omni-channel/mobile platforms, upgrading stores, or simply lowering prices to compete with e-commerce.

A Theme Of Adaptation

In conclusion, we continue to believe that the future is bright for both retailers and landlords. Once again, the theme continues to be adaptation. Traditional retailers are building their online presence and e-commerce retailers are getting into the bricks and mortar game. This environment creates opportunities for landlords that have the vision to meet the changing demands of consumers and the needs of the omni-channel retailer. It’s certainly an interesting time in retail, but one that can bring exciting changes to the benefit of everyone.

 Have questions about the changing retail market? Wondering how you can adapt in 2018? You can contact Zac at zac@crunkletonassociates.com or by calling 256-536-8809.

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Originally from Tennessee, Zac studied business management at Samford University. After moving to Huntsville in 2001, Zac started out his career in banking, wealth management, and financial planning. In 2010 he joined Crunkleton and has since become the VP of Leasing for the commercial real estate group where he focuses on retail leasing and development.

Zac Buckley
VP of Leasing
Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group
ZAC@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

Crunkleton’s Top 5 From 2017!

It’s been a big year for the City of Huntsville! New developments were announced, businesses opened their doors, and exciting events happened that made 2017 an unforgettable year.

At the end of each year, we take a moment to share the major announcements that YOU viewed the most on our blog. Thank you to everyone who helped make this past year so special.

As you can see from the list, it looks like everyone was very excited to welcome several new restaurants to the Huntsville area!

Honorable Mention – Historic Huntsville: The Story Behind The Yarbrough Hotel

At Crunkleton, we try to highlight the amazing history behind different buildings in the city. Our Historic Huntsville posts have continually been a favorite of our readers, and this year we uncovered the history behind the Yarbrough Hotel in Downtown Huntsville. Mary Jane Caylor, a well-known Huntsville figure dedicated to restoring the downtown area, took us on a grand tour and shared personal stories of her childhood at the marvelous hotel.

READ THE FULL STORY

5. Tenant Announcement! Scout & Molly’s Boutique Coming To The Avenue!

Scout & Molly’s Boutique officially opened its doors at The Avenue this fall. We interviewed Lori Mullins, owner of the downtown shop, about what makes the women’s boutique so special.

READ THE FULL STORY

4. Chuck Wagon Texas BBQ Expands To South Huntsville!

After 10 years of success at its Madison location, Chuck Wagon Texas BBQ will open a second restaurant in South Huntsville at Redstone Ridge Shopping Center! The soft opening of the new location is tentatively scheduled for January 4, 2018. We spoke with owner Stephen Holley and got a sneak peek of the new barbecue joint.

READ THE FULL STORY

Haru_Korean_Sushi_Food

3. Haru Korean & Sushi Opens In Madison, Alabama

If you’re looking for authentic Korean fare, Haru is the place for you. Located in the Spencer Square Shopping Center, visitors can now find the city’s newest Korean restaurant serving up everything from noodles and soups to sushi and spicy chicken.

READ THE FULL STORY

Photo credit: Baby Bite Bake Shoppe

2. “Baby Bite Bake Shoppe” Announces New Huntsville Location!

From the moment we announced that Baby Bite Bake Shoppe was coming to town, we have received several messages from excited readers asking when they can get their hands on these delectable treats. (To answer that question, they project their opening for late January 2018!)

The specialty bakery will offer made-from-scratch, bite-sized cakes that are already the talk of the town in Birmingham. After Baby Bites spent several years as the “scrumptious treat-of-choice” at Pastry Art Bake Shoppe in Homewood and Inverness, creators of the popular dessert saw the opportunity to branch out and highlight their best-selling item by introducing an all-new bakery.

 READ THE FULL STORY

1.  New “STOVEHOUSE” Development Coming Soon To West Huntsville!

Our number one blog for the year goes to our STOVEHOUSE announcement! If you haven’t heard, the historic Martin Stove building, located at 3414 Governors Drive, will soon become the site of the city’s next large-scale food, office, events, and entertainment complex. A 200,000 square foot building situated on a 10-acre property, STOVEHOUSE will blur the line between modern and historical, work and play, and small-town culture and high-tech urban energy.

We have several more announcements for STOVEHOUSE to come, so be sure to check back on our blog for more updates as this project evolves.

READ THE FULL STORY

Again, thank you to everyone we interviewed to make these announcements possible. And of course, we owe a HUGE thank you to our readers.

2018 is looking to be another great year, and we can’t wait to share our journey with you and continue to highlight exciting news and developments in the Rocket City!

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haley_square
HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM