Design Collaborative Plants Roots in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Queen City was selected due to firm’s experience in the region, business climate, and region’s growth trajectory

September 17, 2021

Indiana-based Design Collaborative (DC) – a national award-winning Top 100 architecture, engineering, and interior design firm with a mission to improve people’s worlds — officially opened its second office this week, tapping the South End area of Charlotte as its southeastern U.S. home base. DC leadership selected The Queen City due to the firm’s recent and ongoing projects in the Carolinas, enabling a better client experience; demand for DC’s unique approach to epic client service and project delivery; the region’s projected growth; favorable business climate and quality of life; proximity to other major cities and current DC clients in the southeast; competitive-rich market that will empower DC to be the best design firm; and, available direct flights from Fort Wayne (DC’s headquarters location).

In recent years, North Carolina – and namely the Charlotte region – has topped nearly every national survey published, validating and informing the firm’s decision to base its southeast operations here. Business Facilities ranked North Carolina 2020 State of the Year in recognition of the state’s successful economic development track record that creates capital investment and new jobs. ranked Charlotte as the best real estate market in the southeastern United States – third overall in the United States.

Charlotte is one of the 25 largest cities in the United States and North Carolina’s most populated city at 2.9 million, with 97 people moving to the region daily and a 14 percent population growth expected by 2030, according to the Charlotte Region Business Alliance. With a diverse economy, second largest banking center in the country, major sports teams, and one of the best year-round climates, the Charlotte area is an irresistible market to invest, work, and live in.

Charlotte’s proximity to other major markets across the southeast was also a compelling reason to select this region for DC’s second office. From the South End office, the firm can successfully serve clients in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High PointRaleigh/DurhamWilmington, and Asheville, N.C.; SpartanburgGreenvilleColumbia, and Charleston, S.C.Augusta and Athens, Ga.Knoxville, Tenn.; and, Roanoke, Va.

Planting roots in a new region also provides numerous internal and cultural benefits – from a talent recruitment, retention, and development perspective. It clearly furthers the firm’s vision, supporting an aggressive growth strategy in terms of footprint, full-time employees, and revenue. Additionally, it meets various firm strategic planning goals to diversify DC’s geographic footprint, public and private marketplaces, vertical markets, project types, and client base.

The South End area is appealing due to its creative energy, active redevelopment, architectural aesthetic, proximity to the airport and city hub, alternative transportation options, and more. This office will allow DC to have a more powerful and consistent positive impact on people’s worlds across the southeast – even better than can be delivered from its headquarters in Fort Wayne.

This office will initially be dedicated to vertical markets it currently services across the Carolinas, including financial/workplace and higher education, as well as healthcare and industrial. Financial expertise includes headquarters and operations centers, call centers, bank branches, and credit unions, including SAFE Federal Credit UnionORNL Federal Credit Union, and Abound Credit Union.

Higher education expertise includes multiple award-winning project types such as: student housing, student centers, academic buildings, sports and athletics facilities, and more across public and private universities and community colleges, including Southern Wesleyan University, University of Notre DameLeTourneau University, and Purdue University. DC is ranked #94 on BD+C’s 2020 Top University Design Giants and #72 on BD+Cs 2020 Sports Facilities Design Giants surveys.

DC is ranked #90 on BD+C’s 2020 Top Healthcare Design Giants survey with its expertise encompassing the whole acute care system, including emergency departments, imaging, surgery and robotic ORs, patient care units, ambulatory care centers, and more. Notable DC healthcare clients include IU HealthVan Wert HealthParkview Health and Parkview Physicians Group, and Bon Secours Mercy Health.

DC’s industrial clients include SweetwaterVera BradleyRaytheon, and Nisource. Its area of specialization includes industrial projects with sizable workplace facilities, including advanced manufacturing, food processing, cold storage, and data centers. DC is currently ranked #28 on BD+C’s 2020 Top Data Center Design Giants survey.

Recent strategic plans for these markets include a highly-targeted business development approach, focusing on existing clients and relationships, professional referrals, and prospective clients that meet ideal client criteria defined by market leaders and business development leadership.

Recently completed projects across the Carolinas include: Lincoln Financial Greensboro headquarters – a 217,000-square-foot high-rise historic preservation and renovation of the former Jefferson Standard Building; SAFE Federal Credit Union Operations Center in Sumter, S.C., SAFE Federal Credit Union Red Bank Branch in Red Bank, S.C.; and, Southern Wesleyan University Joiner-Hilson Complex in Central, S.C.

Additional projects across the southeast includes: Statewide Federal Credit Union Cleveland, Miss. branch; Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union Headquarters in Charleston, W. Va.; Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union Branch in Hurricane W. Va.; ORNL Federal Credit Union Oak Ridge, Tenn. Branch; ORNL Federal Credit Union Northside Headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn.; ORNL Federal Credit Union Kingston, Tenn. Branch; ORNL Federal Credit Union Corporate Headquarters in Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Member’s Choice Credit Union Main Office & Branch in Ashland, Ky.; Fairmont Federal Credit Union Headquarters & Branch in Fairmont, W. Va.; Bank of Commerce Oxford Branch in Oxford, Miss.; and, a new Abound Credit Union Branch in Glasgow, Ky.

Other vertical markets the firm works in across the Midwest includes: workplacemixed-usemultifamily housingplaces of worshipK-12 educationretailathletic and wellnessparks and recreationcivic and cultural, and historic.

With the addition of the second office, Craig Scully, P.E., LEED AP, partner and mechanical engineer, will serve as managing principal for the Charlotte office, overseeing the market development strategy, client relationships, project oversight, and staffing. In addition to Craig, the regional team has deep expertise and relationships across the region and includes: Adam James, RA, associate partner and financial market leader; Chris Stine, AIA, partner and director of technical design; Kevin Scully, AIA, NCARB, partner and higher education market leader; Mike Niezer, AIA, healthcare market leader, and Tracey Gould, M.S. IMC, CPSM, director of business development and marketing.

“We are thrilled about DC’s future in Charlotte and across the Carolinas,” stated Craig Scully, P.E., LEED AP, partner and mechanical engineer. “Building on our existing client relationships and successful projects in the region over the past 10 years, coupled with the demand for our services, we knew the climate and timing was right to firmly plant our flag in the Charlotte market. We look forward to improving worlds across Charlotte, the Carolinas, and the southeast for decades to come – just like we have been across the Midwest for the past 30 years.”



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