By Kevin Collison
Vireo, a landscape architecture and community planning firm, has opened a new home in the River Market, finding space once used for a brewery garage as a welcoming new environment for its employees.
Stephen Rhoades, a principal at the firm, said the company used the disruptive year when Covid forced its employees to work from home to plan for its future space needs.
“Coming out of the pandemic we reassessed our office layout and talked to our employees who wanted some changes,” he said.
Their wish list included moving away from the open floor plan of their former space at 929 Walnut to one with partial cubicles, more video conference space and more flexibility.
They found what they were looking for at a building owned by developer Chris Sally at 414 Oak St. It was once a garage for the Muehlebach Brewing Co. and is next door to Nature’s Own grocery.
“We wanted a space for today,” said Craig Rhodes, another principal. “The way technology has evolved and what graduates are looking for, a place for work but casual.”
The 5,000 square-foot office includes a mezzanine conference room, an enclosed space for meetings and private telephone calls, cubicles and a lounge area with a flat screen. Overhead, university banners are hung where employees went to school.
Vireo, which was founded in 1995, employs 19 people and does landscape architecture, community planning and natural resource planning primarily in the Midwest. The firm also has a small office in Omaha.
Its hired three people since the beginning of the year and expects to hire two or three more this year.
Some of the more prominent local jobs include managing the community outreach for the starter streetcar line; involvement with the Riverfront Heritage Trail; redoing the Crown Center plaza, and designing the 18th and Vine District entry plaza.
Over the years, Vireo has moved from its first office in the Uptown Theater building to Main Street in the River Market and then 929 Walnut. Rhoades said the firm likes being downtown and close to the streetcar line.
“We particularly enjoy the River Market,” he said. “It has a pedestrian-scale, walkable environment and its very convenient to getting around the region.”
Rhodes added, “It’s what we do as designers and that’s where we want to be.”
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