Media firm buys its building for $2.8M

Tilt has bought its own office building at 25 S. 13th St. (BizSense file photo by Jonathan Spiers)

A longtime Shockoe Slip resident has gone from tenant to landlord.

Tilt Creative + Production is now the owner of the building it has called home at 25 S. 13th St. The digital content and production firm bought the 5,600-square-foot building for $2.8 million on June 26, city property records show.

The seller was Exchange Alley LLC, an entity tied to local developer Tom Papa, who had owned the three-story building since 2004. The latest city assessment valued the property at $682,000.

Tilt – formed two years ago through the merger of Park Group and Studio Squared – had been renting the bulk of the building from Papa and subleasing some of its space to other firms, most recently animation studio Hue & Cry and sports marketing agency Octagon. Those leases will continue to be honored, Tilt CEO Ron Carey said.

Ron Carey

Carey said discussions with Papa about potentially buying the building had been underway for several years when the opportunity to do so arose this year.

“The owner of the property was focusing much more on his residential projects … and the timing just worked out,” Carey said.

The purchase opens up the remaining space in the building for potential use or additional subletting. Carey said he and his colleagues, including co-founder Dave Trownsell and COO Stacy Murphy, are determining how they want to move forward with the space.

Tilt takes up the building’s third floor and nearly all of the ground floor, while Hue & Cry fills out the second floor, Carey said.

“There’s space for us to grow there. We don’t need all of it,” he said. “Right now, more than anything else, it’s just nice to know that we have a home for our folks.”

The Shockoe space serves as Tilt’s main office and post-production facility, and the company has a separate production studio at 1207-B N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., filling nearly 16,000 square feet on the Myers Street side of the Cort Furniture building. Tilt is five years into a 20-year lease for that space, which it rents from Ed Lacy.

Five of Tilt’s 35 full-time employees work out of the boulevard space, while the rest are based in the Slip. The firm has additional employees on contract based on projects and workload.

Like other production firms in town, Carey said Tilt’s workload was affected by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which initially brought film shoots to a halt and prompted studios to shift to more digital output. Since then, he said the company has been keeping busy.

“The first part of the year, all production businesses were significantly impacted, because all production literally came to a standstill,” he said. “But with the clients that we work for and a number of folks that have reached out, it has picked up significantly for us.”

Tilt’s building is around the corner from another Shockoe Slip space undergoing a change. Next door, Chase Bank is taking over the former Peking Pavilion space at 1302 E. Cary St.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
2 months ago

Congratulations to CEO Ron Carey for the purchase. Ron has been a business and community leader in Richmond for years. He was once an all- conference defensive tackle for UVA under coach George Welsh. Hes one of the smartest and nicest guys you’d want to meet.