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Portland Business Journal

A Portland construction and design firm plots Austin, Seattle expansions


By Jonathan Bach – Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal


DESIGN+BUILD, the design and construction firm based in downtown Portland's Wells Fargo Center, is branching into Seattle and Austin.


The company began outreach within the two cities early this year. It already rents a coworking office in Austin.




"We're planning a lot of growth in 2023 as we expand into the Seattle and Austin markets," cofounder Jeffery Snair said in an interview. The plan is to have staff and new projects in both cities by the end of 2023. "Whether we have a 10,000- or 4,000-square-foot lease in those markets is to be determined," Snair said.


This isn't a veiled plan to slip out of Portland during a dour time for the city. The firm, started in 2010, is fresh off renovations for a new office on the 12th floor of the landmark Wells Fargo Center, a 40-story skyscraper at 1300 S.W. Fifth Ave. The company moved in from the Central Eastside in January.


"We're seeing a lot of growth in Portland," said Snair, who confirmed company leadership would stay local. He also noted the company has done work in Seattle in the past; it's that the company will be "more intentional" with the work, he said.


DESIGN+BUILD, employing more than 20 people, is interviewing additional full-time workers, according to a spokesperson.

Getting talent up to the office could be a lure: The pad offers gorgeous views of the urban core and beyond.


"We talk about the designing commute-worthy spaces, and that's bringing people together," said Design Director Maddy Mackin Freeman. "Psychologically, it's just never going to be the same on the Zoom call happy hour."


DESIGN+BUILD allows employees to work hybrid schedules, she said. Some workers are fully in the office, others are there part-time. The new space comes in around 4,000 square feet, or triple its Central Eastside spot, according to company officials.


Pushing into new cities may come off as overly ambitious in a slippery economy. But Snair is confident.


"There's office space across all industries," he said. "So even in an economic downturn, some industries will thrive."





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