Four years after entering the Richmond market, a D.C.-based design firm has planted its flag with a storefront in the heart of the city’s Arts District.
Hickok Cole recently opened an office at 20 E. Broad St., relocating its Richmond studio that was previously based in the Scott’s Addition Gather co-working space.
The architecture and interior design firm signed a five-year lease in late January for the nearly 1,500-square-foot space, which it had eyed since designing the Someday home décor shop next door. The two storefronts are part of a building redeveloped a couple years ago by Justin Pailey’s Catalyst Development.
Jessica Zullo, director of Hickok Cole’s RVA Studio, said the space was appealing for its downtown location and frontage along Broad Street.
“All of us have been in bigger cities in prior lives, we’re all urban people, and we like being a part of the neighborhood,” Zullo said. “And being on the ground floor was really important to us in looking for a space.”
The office opened in September after a buildout by The Noonan Co., a Richmond-based contractor that Hickok Cole has used on some of its smaller projects. While the office remains closed to foot traffic, designers are working in the space in coordinated shifts while primarily working remotely due to the pandemic.
The team designed the space, which includes walls for posting display drawings, a materials library, a wellness room for employees and a dedicated space for meeting with clients. Shared tables and seating fill the main room, and the office also includes a showroom for clients.
In addition to accommodating the team’s six-person staff, the space doubles as an outpost for two structural engineers with Structura, a Maryland-based firm that Hickok Cole also collaborates with on projects.
JLL’s Gareth Jones represented the company in lease negotiations. Reilly Marchant with Thalhimer represented Catalyst.
The office adds to a sort of design studio hub that’s developed in the area over the years. Architecture Design Office is across the street a block east, and Architecture AF is nearby on Second Street, in a building it redesigned and recently purchased.
Urban planning firm Future Cities is at Broad and Foushee, where PSH+, formerly Price Simpson Harvey, is a neighbor. Also nearby are Walter Parks Architects and neighbor ArchitectureFirm, which also purchased its building earlier this year. Cornerstone Architects is across from them on Broad, though the firm is preparing a move to Manchester.
Zullo said the proximity to such peers, as well as the neighborhood’s art galleries and nearby VCU, factored into their decision to locate in the area.
“It’s been really nice to be here, even as we were building it out, just listening to who else was planning on coming to the neighborhood or what’s already here,” Zullo said. “There’s going to be a lot of change happening in the future of Richmond for the neighborhood, so we’re excited to be in the middle of that, too.”
Changes in store for the neighborhood include the building next door at the corner of Broad and First streets, which is slated to be redeveloped. SNP Properties purchased the building last month with plans to rehab it as apartments above a ground-floor retail space.
Hickok Cole’s local work of late includes Lynx Ventures’ The Current development in Manchester, The Wellsmith apartments and a retail center at Libbie Mill, and a 15-story apartment building in development in Monroe Ward. The Richmond team’s workload also includes residential interior design projects in the region and in Charlottesville.