IBJNews

Law firm sticks with unconventional space

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The concept of the fixer-upper is well known in residential real estate, but a local law firm is employing the same concept in the commercial office space realm. With its expansion last month into the historic Eden-Talbott House at 1336 N. Delaware St., the local environmental law firm Plews Shadley Racher & Braun now owns and occupies three historic homes and a 1950s-era office building in the same block.

The firm’s 55 employees are distributed between those four buildings and a nearby fifth building where it leases 1,000 square feet. The piecemeal headquarters, which totals 30,000 square feet and was assembled over the last 21 years, puts the firm in rare company. It’s almost unheard of for an organization of its size to conduct business out of five separate buildings.

And in today’s market, office users are more likely to rent space than own it.

It’s definitely a tenant’s market, said Jon Owens, a senior vice president with the local office of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker. With office vacancy rates topping 19 percent, landlords are cutting attractive deals.

A few years ago, when vacancies were relatively low and landlords were calling the shots, a wave of law firms turned to the market for buildings they could buy and occupy. That’s rare today, Owens said, but it still happens. Decision-makers in a firm don’t always follow the crowd.

That’s certainly true at Plews, where the partners prefer to own rather than lease and are proud of the firm’s support of historic preservation, said Jeffrey Featherstun, a partner in the firm.

“We like to think we’ve improved the neighborhood,” Featherstun said.

The firm was founded with three partners in 1988, the same year it bought the Italian Renaissance-style house at 1346 N. Delaware known as the William B. Wheelock House. Wheelock, an executive of the former L.S. Ayres & Co. department store, built the house in 1912.

By 1994, Plews needed more space and bought the 1892 Alvin S. Lockard House across the street. By early 2000 it had purchased a small office building in the same block, and at the end of last year the firm bought the Eden-Talbott House.

The 1871 house had a variety of owners before Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana bought it in 1979 to spur redevelopment of the Old Northside. Plews bought the house from the National Federation of Music Clubs and hired Marten Construction Management to renovate the nearly 8,000-square-foot structure.
Featherstun said the firm’s 17 partners are distributed about evenly between the five buildings, two of which are on the east side of Delaware. The other three are across the street.

Employees have gotten used to the unconventional office arrangement. “More business is transacted electronically on bad-weather days,” said Featherstun, but “we keep umbrellas by the door.” The flip side is that on good-weather days, employees have a good excuse to get some fresh air, he said.

Featherstun, who’s been with Plews since 1992, said the firm reexamines its real estate needs every time it runs out of space and regularly hears from real estate brokers interested in getting the firm under one roof. But clients, guests and employees enjoy the unique set-up, he said, and the partners haven’t been persuaded to give it up.

They also think they’ve gotten the buildings at the right price. “Our hope is that if we ever decide to do something different we can sell the houses for a nice profit.”

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT