A3C never had any intention of moving from its headquarters in downtown Ann Arbor. The boutique architecture firm had made downtown its home early on, and built up a sustainability nerd's palace, complete with geothermal heating, solar power, and a green roof. After 33 years, it was doing just fine, having weathered the Great Recession. It was adding staff and working on innovative projects.
Then a knock came on its door with an offer to buy its building.
"We were given an offer we couldn't refuse," says Dan Jacobs, founding partner of AC3
. "We had no intention of ever moving our office."
Jacobs and his team turned down that first offer. Then came another bigger offer, and another one. A friend in the community reached out and explained the original offer is coming from a group of local tech business people who want to use the property and others surrounding it to create a cluster of office space for tech startups. The money and the argument for further economic development was enough to sway Jacobs.
"We saw some real benefits for ourselves," Jacobs says. "It's also a great opportunity for the local community."
That put AC3 into a rush to find a new home for it and its growing staff. The firm has hired a new person over the last year, expanding its employee base to 10 people. It's looking to add another team member now. The firm has a lead on a new office, but the deal fell through.
Then a new option to take over its original office came up at the last second. Jacobs and his team jumped on the chance to occupy the office on the second floor of a West Liberty Street building in downtown Ann Arbor.
"I walked up the stairs for the first time in 20 years and has a deja vu moment," Jacobs says.
Source: Dan Jacobs, founding partner of AC3
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.