Weber + Thompson

Practice: Architecture, interior design, urban design

Founded: 1987

Leadership: Blaine J. Weber, Scott Thompson and Kristen Scott, principals

 Weber + Thompson: Seastar entry  Bellevue
Weber + Thompson: Seastar entry Bellevue

In spite of the recession, Weber + Thompson has never been busier, claiming over 79 active projects either on the boards or under construction.

The Seattle architecture firm has 43 staff members, up from 41 last year, with $3.5 million in gross fees this year. Weber + Thompson specializes in tenant improvements and urban infill and mixed-use projects, including single- and multi-family residential, office, retail and hospitality categories.

"We are fortunate to have so many repeat clients that perceive the economic downturn as an opportunity to capitalize on soft markets and capture market share," said principal Blaine Weber. "Our project load includes a substantial number of larger projects that by their nature have long entitlement periods ... meaning they are scheduled to come on line a couple of years out when the business cycle should be in a recovery mode."

Weber expects the firm to grow to approximately 60 within the next five years. Present goals for the firm include moving more aggressively into hospitality and planning, according to principal Kristen Scott.

"We have committed to growing our planning and interiors teams in a big way," she said. Scott says the firm has found a special niche in pedestrian-focused planned residential communities with generous shared green space.

Managing client expectations is a particular challenge in a competitive market, according to principal Scott Thompson. "Because the design of a unique, one-of-a-kind building is subject to individual problems and complexities, it is not possible to deliver a perfect set of documents or a project that has no bugs or zero change orders," he said.

Projects include Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar, Bellevue; Issaquah Highlands master plan, two mixed-use communities with single- and multi-family housing - including affordable and market rate - and community centers; Point Edwards, Edmonds, a luxury hillside urban village located on the old Unocal Tank Farm site; and 800 Western, Seattle, an office tower located on the edge of Pioneer Square and Seattle's Financial district.

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