We’ll admit that we felt some type of way when we heard SEER Interactive was leaving the Search Church, its iconic Northern Liberties office, a renovated church that we once called the coolest office space in Philadelphia.
We take it back.
The online marketing agency’s new office is unlike anything we’ve seen in Philly, by its size alone.
For the past three years, SEER has had one floor in developer Bart Blatstein’s six-story, reflective-glass office building at 2nd Street and Germantown Avenue, at what feels like the front door of Northern Liberties. But in the last six months, the company took over every floor but one, jumping at the opportunity every time a company moved out. (CEO Wil Reynolds has plans to take over that last floor too, all in good time.)
Blatstein, who has long been SEER’s landlord and renovated the Church for them, helped with that process, including giving up the apartment he had on the seventh floor — now a beautiful event/meeting space. SEER threw a grand opening party in the event space Tuesday night. Mayor Michael Nutter was there to cut the ribbon (maybe his last of many?).
The buildout, which was still in progress on the sixth floor and seventh floors when we visited this week, cost about $1.2 million, Reynolds said. He has a 10-year lease on the place.
It’s a major way of putting down roots, much like South Jersey hosting company Linode’s recent $5 million purchase of a former bank in Old City.
“This communicates that we’re here to stay,” Reynolds said, noting that SEER hasn’t had the opportunity to really invest in an office space in the past because it was growing too fast.
This new office, designed by Shophouse Design, fits the 80-some SEER employees in Philly (there’s about 20 in its San Diego offiice) and will have room to accommodate at least double that, he said.
The office itself is tricked out with chandeliers, two hidden doors (one, no joke, is in a bookshelf), concrete hightop tables that double as standing desks, a mothers’ room for women who are breastfeeding (inspired by Reynolds’ CEO swap with Moz CEO Rand Fishkin), killer views of the Philly skyline and a very legit 175-person event space. SEER spent $20,000 on acoustic wave tiles for the space to to get the acoustics just right. That decision seems informed by Reynolds’ public speaking expertise. (One tried-and-true Reynolds public speaking tip? Always bring your own clicker for your slides.)
Why invest in flourishes like this?
“People want to be proud of where they work,” he said. “We all spend a lot of time in the office, so why not make it as enjoyable as possible?”
He also believes that a creative space is “conducive to ideation.” It’s the same reason he chose to build the company in the city rather than the suburbs, he said. You bump into people, you feel the energy and the possibility of the city — it’s inspiring.
See more photos below.