As the #4 most downloaded mobile app in the world, The Weather Company has exploded in growth. CEO Cameron Clayton describes their situation, “We’re looking to hire over 800 people in the next three years. That’s great for business, but it also creates real logistical problems. We don’t have a single seat available for anybody in our current building.” Cameron called on Scotland Wright Associates (SWA) to helm the relocation process—a process that would become immensely more challenging midway-through due to The Weather Company’s acquisition by IBM.
“SWA was amazing through the whole process and continued providing an incredible level of support and professionalism.” Cameron Clayton, CEO
The Weather Company
APPROXIMATE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 100,000
SWA has been representing tenants big and small for over 15 years, so the firm knew exactly how to best serve The Weather Company. They spent hundreds of hours gathering information, understanding The Weather Company’s future growth plan and strategizing about the best relocation area. Scotland, SWA founder, says, “It first started off with asking where they wanted to be geographically, and a lot of variables come into play there. We wanted to make sure we got to a place that contributed to the culture they wanted to create and enhanced their ability to attract and retain talent.”
SWA’s entire team devoted themselves to researching and discovering the perfect solution for The Weather Company while walking through their 133-step process. Principal Michael Tucker says, “We conducted commute-route analysis and led tours into the Northwest, Midtown, Buckhead, Downtown, and ultimately the Central Perimeter, which we realized was the best area for them.” The Central Perimeter provided easy access to public transportation, offering commute convenience for The Weather Company’s new creative employees living downtown, while still offering access to the suburbs for employees with young families.
In the middle of the process, The Weather Company was put up for sale and purchased by IBM. SWA could have easily been replaced by IBM’s existing real-estate relationships. Yet Cameron, a first-hand witness to SWA’s expertise, exceptional service and custom-fit approach, convinced IBM to keep SWA onboard. He says, “We went to bat for them in a really big way, because SWA has done so much for us and offered a level of service unlike anyone we’d worked with before.”
But the relocation process was now exponentially more complex for SWA, not least because of IBM’s more rigorous compliance for tenant space. The number of people making real-estate decisions for The Weather Company jumped from five to over 25. Some of the new leadership wanted The Weather Company to move into space IBM already owned—space that didn’t fit the criteria SWA and Cameron had already established. SWA jumped into education mode, navigated prior expectations and helped all leadership understand The Weather Company’s space needs. “I personally would have thrown my hands up and walked away,” Cameron laughs. “But SWA was amazing through the whole process and continued providing an incredible level of support and professionalism.” SWA stayed committed to servicing The Weather Company all the way through the deal, which ultimately led to the perfect new space for The Weather Company.
The building, located at 1001 Perimeter Summit Parkway, is one of the premiere office spaces in Atlanta. “It’s a beautiful space,” Cameron says. “But our move isn’t just an investment in square footage, but in our culture as a company.” The new location is centrally located for The Weather Company’s employee base and offers great brand exposure with their sign visible from I-285 and GA-400, where tens of thousands of cars travel every day. Public transportation, nearby restaurants, entertainment and outside WiFi connectivity all combined to make it the perfect space for The Weather Company. SWA negotiated the deal and built in components that ensure The Weather Company will have first rights to the building’s new space when it becomes available, thereby accommodating the company’s future growth plans.The Result
The Weather Company will relocate into their new building by summer 2017, but SWA knows their job as tenant representatives doesn’t end once the move happens. “We stay in close contact with our clients even after the move,” SWA says. “Every company should have a long-term real estate representative, and that’s how we aim to serve our clients.”
Cameron says he and his team know they got a great deal along with exceptional service from SWA. “The SWA team are highly-motivated and highly-skilled experts of their field. They make it easy for their clients, and having the full team work with us was awesome. I’d recommend them in a second to anyone.”
With more than three years left in their building lease, top management consulting firm Bain & Company (Bain) was already outgrowing their space. Managing Partner Miles Cook says, “We were a few years ahead of what we expected in terms of growth, so we had people sharing desks and overflowing in our office.” At the same time, with a constantly changing workforce, the company wanted to be in the best place to attract new talent, even if it meant moving out of Buckhead, their current location. For the sake of their business, they needed to make a change right away—not in three years’ time. Scotland Wright Associates (SWA) had served Bain through two prior business moves, and the company again chose SWA’s elite team to head this operation.
“SWA certainly knows the market, and they’re thoughtful, friendly, and balanced in all their negotiations. They are a great partner to work with on all aspects of a move.” Miles Cook, Managing Partner
Bain & Company
APPROXIMATE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 55,000
SWA was determined to find the perfect solution to Bain’s needs—even if it meant manufacturing space that didn’t yet exist. “We have specialized needs,” Cook says. “Because of the way our teams work, our workforce is constantly changing. We can have unexpected peaks, valleys and surges, so our space has to accommodate those changes.” Principal Michael Tucker says, “We helped them think through whether they should retrofit their current space, relocate everyone to a new space, or relocate one floor at a time. There were many moving parts to evaluate, and we wanted to lead them to the right real estate solution.”
SWA began analyzing all aspects of possible new locations, including the buildings themselves, amenities, parking, hotels, commute patterns and more. Through their extensive research, SWA learned that the majority of Bain’s employees would have the same or better commute times if the company moved to Midtown. It was an important turning point for the decision. “When we put all the pieces together, it was clear Midtown was where they needed to be for the next decade and beyond,” Tucker says. Cook acknowledges SWA had excellent answers to his team’s questions. “The SWA team are very good advisors. They’re deeply knowledgeable, very responsive, and they were quick to respond through the whole process.”
But there were many challenges with the move, including their current lease didn’t expire until 2019. Even more problematic was that the Midtown building they wanted didn’t have the appropriate space to fit Bain. That’s when SWA set out to find a creative solution to meet Bain’s unique needs.
SWA’s solution meant manufacturing non-existent space for Bain. Through their extensive market knowledge and relationships, SWA discovered a primary tenant in the Midtown building was looking to reconfigure their space. SWA worked quickly to negotiate a deal where Bain could backfill two and a half of those floors coming available. “That space never hit the market,” Founder and President Scotland Wright says. “We just uncovered it through market knowledge and conversations with many people.”
The negotiation grew complex, involving third-party tenants reconfiguring their spaces to make room for Bain. “It was challenging, and there was a lot of juggling,” Tucker says, “but we came up with a solution where there was initially no space at all.” In the lease, SWA also included the option for more space in future years, allowing Bain to stage into their growth. “It actually worked out better for us in many ways, because we won’t have to pay for all the space we’ll need in ten years from day one,” Cook says. “It’ll be available for us just when we need it.”The Result
Bain & Company will relocate to 1180 Peachtree Street in 2018. SWA led Bain to a new space that will allow them to attract and retain new talent while continuing to be a best-rated place to work. SWA also negotiated a concession package that allowed Bain to offset the remaining rent costs on their current lease. “We’ll still be involved all the way up to their move and beyond,” Wright says. “When issues come up, we want to be their advocate and help them through anything that arises. Our job doesn’t stop once the deal is complete.”
As a global company that revolutionized the plumbing industry with smart home products, Reliance Worldwide Corporation (RWC) initially wanted a space near Georgia Tech to house an engineering innovation lab. “We make a product that uses water, and landlords tend to frown on having a water-based lab on the 18th floor of a high-rise,” says President and CEO Sean McClenaghan. But after exploring options with Scotland Wright Associates (SWA), Sean and CFO Andrew Johnson saw the benefit in a space large enough to keep their entire HQ under one roof. They wanted to house everyone in a place that better fit their culture and would attract and retain talent as they continued growing. “We didn’t feel like a typical class-A office structure was conducive to who we are as a company,” Andrew says. But they weren’t sure the perfect space to handle all their needs existed, and they didn’t know if consolidating everything made sense financially.
“SWA did a great job listening to the type of structure we wanted, what we were looking for and areas we were interested in.” Sean McClenaghan, President and CEO
Reliance Worldwide Corporation
APPROXIMATE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 80,000
The first thing SWA did was step back from the real-estate question at hand and ask what was best for RWC long-term. Principal Michael Tucker says, “Our team challenged RWC’s mindset and got them to think about the benefit of having one office versus two.” This wasn’t the easy route, but through workplace strategy analysis, SWA helped RWC determine that it made the most sense for everyone to be under one roof. With one space, RWC wouldn’t have duplicative efforts and facilities, with their employees separated. “They would have more square feet than they needed with two spaces,” Michael says, “and we identified this issue and helped them understand how much they really needed.” SWA also helped RWC understand they would actually save money by consolidating into one space. “Soon they saw that this solution made the most sense.”
Sean says, “Initially, we were just looking for something around 25,000 sq. feet as a second expansion location. But SWA showed us a 80,000 sq. foot space that could act as one comprehensive HQ. That was when Andrew and I started thinking it might be interesting if we could keep everything together.” Andrew says SWA made the discovery process extremely efficient and easy. “They communicated well and understood what we were looking for.”
But one of the biggest constraints to consolidating was that RWC still had almost 5 years left on their current lease. In response, SWA utilized their extensive market knowledge and helped RWC understand the value of their current space. They knew a healthcare company in the same building was looking for more space, and they took action in pursuing a deal to sublease while also moving forward with the new space. “SWA’s biggest challenge with this deal was keeping the planets and stars aligned long enough for the deal to come together,” Sean says. “But they stayed on top of it, stayed focused.” The SWA team was able to successfully convince the healthcare company to take RWC’s previous space. This incredible financial recovery for RWC came about because of SWA’s thorough process and Atlanta market knowledge.
All the pieces clicked with an 80,000 square foot space in the Midtown/West Atlanta area called Defoor Hills. With 18-foot ceilings, exposed brick and cinder blocks, and large oversize windows, the building allows lots of natural light and open-office style, which better fit RWC’s image and culture. Andrew says, “SWA did a great job listening to the type of structure we wanted, what we were looking for and areas we were interested in.” The space is in exactly the part of town RWC wanted to relocate to, and with everyone under one roof, one of the biggest benefits of the move will be the company’s acquisition and retention of employees.
Through an established relationship with the Defoor Hills building developer, SWA was able to cut to the chase in the deal and very quickly negotiate the best financial option. Though multiple other brokers were bidding for the same space at the same time, SWA’s relationship with the landlord put them at the head of the line and helped carry the deal through the end. All this occurred while SWA simultaneously managed the subleasing process of RWC’s previous space to save them money and time.The Result
The move sets up RWC for enormous future success, and the company feels very fortunate in how the deal worked out. “Our new space is a big part of supporting the growth of our business,” Andrew says, “and there’s no doubt we wouldn’t have this new space without SWA’s help. They really gave great guidance.” Sean says SWA is a very knowledgeable, well-connected and experienced team who looks out for your interests. “They know the market extremely well, they deliver on what they promise, they’re your advocate and adviser, and they have your best interests at heart.”