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50 Beyond: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

24 May 2019

As we approached the end of our lease, the new leadership at Dyer Brown was faced with critical considerations and challenges. Do we stay in the place we’ve called home for the past 15 years or do we relocate and start a new chapter? There were many factors to consider:

  • Over the past ten years, our firm has more than doubled in size to serve a diversifying client base, resulting in a division of our team between two floors.
  • The construction of the nearly 700-foot-tall Winthrop Square Tower over the next three years could be a concern with noise disturbances and road closures.
  • If we relocated, would we be able to meet all of our requirements? The criteria: an adequately sized office on the lower level of a building with history and character giving us room to expand
  • What meets the needs of our entire team, their families and personal lives?

Our initial reaction to the lease expiration was of course to renew. Our neighboring tenant (and client), Boston Financial Management, had just relocated, giving us the opportunity to expand and bring our teams back together on one floor. And… why leave a place that was easily accessible for our commutes to work and many job sites? On one hand, it made sense to stay; on the other hand, we had the advice of our predecessor, Roger Shepley, in the back of our heads. The moment he officially felt like the leader of the company was when Dyer Brown moved from Broad Street to One Winthrop Square – that there was something about a fresh start with a new generation of leadership. Maybe relocating could be a positive thing for us as we enter the next 50 years.

So, there we were… touring other neighborhoods in Boston, with the help from our longtime friends at Newmark Knight Frank. They were invaluable resources throughout the building search process. They understood what we were looking for and always put our interests and objectives out front. We found other buildings that checked all the boxes – lower level space accessible from the street, easy access to public transportation, a clean slate.

We weighed the pros and cons of staying or going, but what mattered most to us was: what would serve the needs of the Dyer Brown team both professionally and personally? As with a lot of our key strategic decisions, we gathered feedback from our entire staff. After a survey and many personal conversations, it was obvious that location itself was not a deciding factor in a new office. What mattered most was creating a place where all of our client teams could be together, to learn from each other, do their best work and support our culture of continuous improvement.

After careful debate and lots of negotiating, we decided to stay in our One Winthrop Square location, bring our teams together on an expanded floorplate on the first floor. We couldn’t be happier with our decision. In only a few short weeks, the excitement amongst staff and visitors when experiencing the refreshed space for the first time has been energizing and gratifying. In the end we got the fresh start we were looking for without pulling up stakes.

What we learned is that while location is always critical – equally important are the people and the space within that honor our 50 year legacy and allow us to continue to serve our clients for another 50.

Post authored by

Rachel Woodhouse NCIDQ LEED AP
Principal/Director of Operations
Dyer Brown Architects

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