When The Brand Leader decided to move its downtown headquarters, the Greenville area had a lot to offer in terms of options. The locally based branding agency — then located in a downtown location looking over Fluor Field — needed more space, and CEO Geoff Wasserman had two criteria in mind as he started the search.
“There were two sides we looked at on the real estate side,” he said. “One was: Where is the city already investing? And secondly: Is there still an undervalued property in that area, or has it all been taken up?”
Over a year and a half, Wasserman kept his eye out for the perfect location, but it was the economic development at Northpointe — a triangular site nestled among Wade Hampton Boulevard, Stone Avenue and Church Street — that stood out. Realizing the city’s plans for that stretch of Wade Hampton leading into the “gateway” of downtown Greenville, he narrowed his search, eventually settling on an approximately 50-year-old building just a quarter of a mile from the new development that would provide more than enough space for his own team.
Determining the location, however, is the smallest part of this story. After a significant renovation of the building that was completed in 2019, the almost-10,000-square-foot building was finally ready to be inhabited. And with that came the question: Who would fill the building?
While most buildings will fill its open spaces with whatever paying tenants can be found, Wasserman (then serving a dual role as managing partner of the newly-developed Moviv Properties) had a different approach: He decided to fill it with creatives.
Two other marketing and public relations agencies, flourish and TKPR, took spaces within the building, as did TipTop, which focuses on SEO. All three had a past working relationship with Wasserman and his team and were looking for creative space. In addition, two exceptions to the “creative” rule joined: the Set Free Alliance, a nonprofit organization with work focused in India and Africa, and Cover Consulting, a small real estate investment consulting firm.
Still, having tenants comprised primarily of agencies in the building made some of the renovation decisions a lot easier, said Wasserman.
“There’s a definite benefit, but I’m not suggesting that it’s a new business model at all; it just was a benefit that fit us,” Wasserman said. “When you have multiple tenants who all have similar needs, then it’s a lot easier to say, ‘How do we help outfit our shared conference room spaces?’ because they’re for the same types of clients in the same types of industry with the same types of needs. So they expect certain things — even little decisions on where to run electrical and plumbing in a building based on where you’re going to put things like client kitchens and refrigerators and those kinds of things.”
It’s important to note, however, that there is more alignment to be found in such a conglomeration than simply how to set up the space. Looking past the obviously competitive nature that one might have found in a building filled with creative entities, there is a lot of synergy as well.
As an example, in a recent job search, The Brand Leader interviewed a number of candidates for an open position, and one got the job. However, another agency in the house was also searching to expand its team, and found its newest member in a runner-up of that same search.
For Wasserman, it’s that type of synergy that was the goal the whole time.
“When you have like-minded people, you tend to also have like-minded values,” Wasserman notes. “We just felt that it made sense to try to have people in similar industries because of the synergies for us.”