President: Mitch Smith
Specialty: Comprehensive architectural, planning and interior design services for office, retail, industrial and mixed- use facilities
Year founded: 1971
2000 revenues: $38.4 million
Projected 2001 revenues: $43 million
Largest current project: Elliott Grand Hyatt

Expanding into public sector work has helped MulvannyG2 weather tough economic times.

“What we’ve been striving for is strategically balancing markets,” said Mitch Smith, president. “Obviously, the public cycle runs different than the private. That’s why we entered those markets five years ago.”

One example is MulvannyG2’s 45,000-square-foot South Seattle Community College Learning Resource Center — a three-story, window-lined rotunda with a computer commons on the ground floor and traditional library stacks radiating from it in spokes.

Another recession-protected client for MulvannyG2 has been Costco. MulvannyG2 designed the 145,000-square-foot Superior, Colo., Costco as well as the home office building No. 3 in Issaquah, which is under construction.

“We’re excited about the (Issaquah) project developing in a way that closely represents their culture and their approach to their customers in terms of design and efficiency — and yet representing a high quality environment for their employees,” Smith said.

The Tacoma Convention Center, scheduled to be completed in 2004, spans several blocks and will be a magnet for public activity downtown, helping to energize the downtown core with a mix of public and private elements.

In the private sector, MulvannyG2 designed the Elliott Grand Hyatt Seattle, a 932,000-square-foot, 30-story hotel with 425 rooms. The design includes street-level retail, concealed five-level parking garage and expansion space for the nearby convention center.

“From the get-go it was a very complex project, integrating multiple projects together and multiple design teams,” said Smith. “We’re very proud. It has a contemporary, yet very elegant flare to the building and interior design.”

Smith acknowledged that Sept. 11 has affected how the firm does business. “Our natural reaction is to be a little bit more cautious about the future,” he said. “It encourages us to be as lean as possible, to make sure the firm is in a strong position to address and deal with unknowns of the future.”

The economic downturn hasn’t forced layoffs at the firm, but it has put on focus on “overhead efficiency,” he said. “We’ve switched people from overhead positions to projects.”

In the long run, Smith said government incentives — tax breaks and lowering interest rates — will make a difference to developers.

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