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October 25, 2012
Specialty: Multifamily, retail, interior architecture
Management: Rich Wagner, managing principal
Year founded: 1972
Projects: Velo Apartments, 165 units in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood; Prescott Wallingford apartments, 147 units in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood
Rich Wagner is bullish on architecture. To be exact, he’s bullish on his architecture firm, Baylis Architects.
“It’s been a stellar year, so far,” said Wagner.
While the architecture field is recovering in stride with the economy, Wagner said he is finding work and has positioned his firm to take advantage of the uptick in apartment development that Seattle has recently experienced.
“As an industry, it’s hard to say we’re back, but for our architecture firm it’s proven to be an immensely strong year,” said Wagner.
Wagner said Seattle’s position as one of the top centers for high-tech has translated into an expansion of apartment development.
“High-tech is driving a lot of job creating in Seattle, and soon that will marry-up in the manufacturing sector as Boeing adds jobs locally,” he said.
With the high-tech sector improving, Wagner said the area will continue to attract younger workers who enjoy the apartment lifestyle. “We’re seeing units getting smaller, and seeing a lot of one-bedroom units,” he said. “A lot of people want to spend time outside their apartments at the local restaurant or coffee shop. That’s allowing us to go with smaller units and bedrooms that don’t have so many amenities.”
Designs of newer apartments have changed to reflect the desire for smaller spaces and different amenities. Wagner said tenants want amenities such as dog patches and garden patches, as well as more room for bike storage and Zipcars; and less need for tenant parking.
Baylis is designing the 165-unit Velo Apartments for a site in Fremont. Two projects it designed have recently opened: the 107-unit Capitol Hill project called Citizen of the Pike Pine and Prescott Wallingford, which has 147 units.
(Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correct which projects recently opened and which are still being designed.)
Baylis also has a steady stream of work designing single-family homes, which Wagner described as custom, high-end homes.
Another area that has proved rewarding has been hotels. Baylis is designing a 140-room hotel in Issaquah called the SpringHill Suites Marriott.
He agreed it’s been a tough few years for architectural firms. “Our whole industry has suffered immensely over the last four years,” Wagner said. “We’re able to say we toughed it out and are seeing the rewards of sticking around.”
Baylis boosted staff and investments in computers, software and office infrastructure. “We doubled-down in this economy on infrastructure in the office, and we’re not looking back anymore,” he said.