For Planit, putting its stamp on Baltimore means moving away from Pratt Street.
The marketing firm, which cofounders Ed Callahan and Matt Doud like to say has a “digital soul,” is moving to the former Syrup KING Molasses building at 1414 Key Highway.
With a lease signed and move-in scheduled for April 2016, Callahan said the company is working with the architectural firm Gensler & Associates to design renovations for the 30,000-square-foot space. The building already has exposed bricks and wood beams, but Planit wants to put its own spin on the space. Callahan said he wants the new space to represent the off-the-wall creativity for which Planit is known.
Callahan gave Gensler’s reps the following directive: “We scare our clients. We want you to scare us. Bring us ideas that you don’t typically get to do.”
The move comes amid big growth for the 21-year-old agency, which counts Dick’s Sporting Goods, AGCO and the Susan G. Komen Foundation among current and past clients.
The staff has nearly doubled since 2012, now totaling 101 employees. More growth is expected in the coming year for the agency, which recently won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and was once again named to the Inc. 5000. That necessitated a move to a space with room for more people.
The agency’s current 10th floor office space at 500 E. Pratt St. has impressive city views, but Callahan said they wanted a space that was more akin to the company’s feel. For instance, he said, employees don’t like taking their bikes up the elevator.
“They don’t enjoy coming up the 10th floor in the office building in the elevator,” Callahan said. “We know that to retain great talent and great employees, let’s go build the great atmosphere that we know we are.”
He added that the central business district is mostly dead in the evening and on weekends. At the new space, he sees the potential to host events and mesh more generally with the community. Planit also expects the new building will have a retail component, but details weren’t immediately released.
“Over there,” Callahan said, “it’s a big mix of live, work and play.”
The move also puts Planit in an area where tech companies are beginning to congregate.
The existing community around Betamore and Mindgrub’s recent move to Locust Point and the existing Videology office in McHenry Row brings a lot of tech talent to South Baltimore everyday. Kevin Plank is aiming to add many more creatives to the area with his plans for Port Covington.
“There’s all sorts of innovation and new thinking going on on Key Highway,” Callahan said.
The reopening conversation is starting (carefully). Where do tech offices fit in?
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