Based in Dallas, BGO Architects has become a leading name both in the local market and across the country over the last 45-plus years. To date, BGO has designed more than 900,000 dwellings, eight office buildings and a handful of standalone retail buildings
Today the firm specializes in the multifamily development market, completing high-end residential projects across Texas and, increasingly, outside of the state. While BGO worked in 14 states in 2015, the company has almost doubled that figure within the last year and currently has projects underway in 24 states across the country.
“We are still in an expansion mode and our reputation of quality work has allowed us to land so many jobs in so many states,” says Erik Earnshaw, partner at BGO. “Our quality of work, quality of design and quality of relationships with contractors and clients is what sets us apart from other firms.”
As a company that strives to encourage creative collaboration, Earnshaw and the BGO team see teamwork as one of the most important factors for success on any project. “We’re highly responsive – whether it’s in the design phase or the construction phase. Our overall team follows the project all the way from first stages of design to the finish product,” he says. “We’re all about design and customer service; everything comes with a personal touch at BGO.”
Amenities drive retention in Dallas
Located in Dallas’ medical district, Maple District Lofts is one of BGO’s newest luxury multifamily developments. The 342 unit high-end project features a resort style atmosphere that includes 9,000-square feet of top amenities such as pools, fitness areas, cabanas and hammocks. “This is not workforce housing, this is an A-plus product and definitely at the top of the market,” says Earnshaw.
Such amenities are vital to developments such as Maple District Lofts due to their ability to increase interaction among residents, which in turn can help to increase overall resident retention. “When you have these types of amenities it increases overall interaction between residents and they’re more likely to stay due to the fact they’re making friends,” says Earnshaw. “The chances of their staying increases with every friend they meet.”
While BGO does complete some workforce housing and tax credit development, the current urban infill project is aimed at serving the medical professional who work in the hospital district.
In Richardson, Texas, BGO recently completed a transit-oriented development (TOD) called GreenVue. Another high-end development with resort-style amenities, GreenVue is located along a public transit line that can whisk residents into Dallas’ central business district in just minutes.
BGO has also developed a niche in the design of horizontal mixed-use developments and The Summit at Rivery Park represents the firm’s latest foray into the market. Currently in the development stages, the Georgetown, Texas, development is slated for completion by summer 2016.
The 228-unit luxury residential development features a full service hotel, restaurants, boutique shopping a business conference center and outdoor recreation area. The horizontal mixed-use design means that retail options are accessible for residents and shoppers alike, a factor that’s been an issue in many recent vertical mixed-use developments.
“In the last 10 years, there’s been a huge demand for vertical mixed-use of retail and residential. We’ve found vertical mixed use can cause issues for retailers because the consumers were experiencing difficulty with parking and daily delivery of services, so there was an added level of stress to the process,” says Earnshaw. “Horizontal mixed-use helps eliminate that stress for the consumer.”
Preparing the next generation of leaders
As BGO continues to distinguish itself in the market and pursue growth, new-generation leaders are stepping forward to take the company into the future. Founded in 1967 by Jerry Beeler, John Guest and John “Buz” Owens, the firm is now run by a team of four partners that includes Erik Earnshaw, Jaron Daily, Richard Heidenreich and Minho Kim.
“The four partners have always had a focus on multifamily housing and we’ve learned a lot about the industry from the founding partners,” says Earnshaw.
In addition to the next generation of leadership at BGO, a new generation of millennial workers are coming to the firm and bringing with them an entirely new set of expectations about both the workplace and their role in it.
“The culture of the firm is more important to them as far as comradery and activities. We have done a softball league, sponsored a kickball team in the spring and fall and August is chair massage month,” he says. The firm also offers flexible time off and will occasionally hire out food trucks to cater lunch. “They also care about the location of the office; they want it in a transit location or within walking distance,” he continues.
Earnshaw expects five-story, wood-frame multifamily development projects to be the firm’s bread and butter moving forward, but says rising property costs will also force BGO to become more creative when it comes to using space.
With a strong leadership team, expertise in a specific market niche and a finger on the pulse of trends such as horizontal mixed-use development, BGO Architects will continue to serve both the Texas and U.S. market as a leading architecture firm.
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