As an architect, we get to see many clients purchase buildings, call us to help them with the designs, and oversee construction. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? We tell our clients the average timeline for a project from start to finish is usually 2-5 years. Of course, most people think “my project is simple, so it won’t take that long.” Let’s look at the steps we have taken with our simple new office to date and compare to the 2-5 year timeline. And remember, our office is primarily an interior renovation.

Step 1 – Find the Property

The first step in the process is to find that perfect property for your new office. Depending on your market area and what you are looking for in a property this can be as short as a couple weeks and as long as a couple years. We first looked at our building in February 2016. It was one of the properties owned by The City of Hagerstown that was up for a Competitive Negotiated Bid (CNB). After thinking long and hard about it, we submitted the CNB paperwork in August 2017 for the Pioneer Hook and Ladder fire station and illustrated our plans to renovate the building for our offices. In October, the City of Hagerstown accepted our offer. Perfect! Step one is complete.

Not so fast… Before we could actually close on the property, we had to do our due diligence. For us, this meant we made sure the building was structural sound, able to be renovated within our budget, and there were no other lingering issues. We allowed 90 days to complete this review. This is when we hit the first snag. Because the building hadn’t changed hands in nearly a century, the title records were a little nebulous by modern standards. This had to be resolved before we could close, so everyone knows exactly what’s being bought and sold. Ultimately, we didn’t close on the building until September 2018. That’s right, almost a year after the City of Hagerstown accepted our office.

Total time for Step 1: 2 years 7 months.

Stay tuned for Step 2 in my next blog.