As he looks to adapt his company to changing office habits, a local entrepreneur has struck a rare real estate deal in Scott’s Addition for under a million dollars.
Mark Morton paid $710,000 last week for 2939 W. Marshall St., a 3,400-square-foot building that will serve as the new headquarters for his namesake IT staffing firm.
Located near the intersection of West Marshall and Altamont Avenue, the building is just down the block from Morton’s former office at 1008 N. Sheppard St.
Morton, who’s founder and president of the Morton staffing firm, bought the Sheppard Street building, once the Conner Brothers Body Shop, in 2017. Along with local entrepreneur Brad Cummings he added a second story to it, doubling the area of the building up to 8,000 square feet. Part of the building was initially slated to be for a restaurant, but Morton said they wound up scrapping that plan and went for all office space.
Morton operated there for about two years until the pandemic hit. After working remotely for much of the last two years, Morton said he and his staff didn’t need as much space as they had on Sheppard, but that they still wanted a home base.
“We were in (the Conner Brothers) space and we knew that it had capacity for us to grow. We had anticipations of growth, and we were well on that path. But, unfortunately, some of those plans got sidelined because of COVID,” Morton said.
“The building sat empty for about 15 months. And when I say empty, I mean nobody was coming in on a day-in day-out basis whatsoever.”
Morton wound up leasing out its space to another, unnamed office user, while the other half of the Conner Brothers building is leased to cloud technology company Presidio.
Morton said the plan is to continue leasing out the old headquarters and convert 2939 W. Marshall St. into a new office where his staff of about eight locally can come and go as they wish.
“I think what we understand is flexibility is key,” Morton said. “We may ask folks, ‘Hey we’ll get together on this day, or for training and mentoring when we have new folks come.’ We’re not going to be dictating that they come to the office by any means.”
Morton closed on the Marshall Street parcel on Feb. 16. It was most recently home to an entertainment casting company and an apparel company. The city assessed it this year at $486,000. Elliot Warsof of S.L. Nusbaum represented the sellers. Chris and Ruthann Trivelpiece, and JLL’s Jimmy Appich represented Morton.
Similar to the Conner Brothers project, Morton said he’s exploring options for someday expanding the Sheppard Street building’s footprint. He said he’s been working with Fultz & Singh Architects on possible future designs for that project.
“We really are in the initial phase. It’s got access to the alley and we can build all the way back to the alley,” Morton said. “At some point we may do a larger footprint than what we have today.”
In the meantime, Morton said they’re working on an upstairs upfit of the space for his firm to occupy, and he noted that he’ll likely look to lease out the downstairs. Morton’s aiming to have its space ready for move-in by April.
The new office space is adjacent to tea shop T-Caf, Salon de Thé, which opened in 2020. Across the street, local developer Capital Square is planning about 350 apartments on the 2-acre N. Chasen & Son property on the block, an endeavor it’s working on with Maryland-based Lerner Enterprises.