When Partners + Napier outgrew their office space in High Falls and began searching for a new home, the management team placed a priority on a locale in the heart of downtown.
They accomplished that mission by landing on the third and fourth floors of The Metropolitan, Gallina Development’s striking and distinguished transformation of the reborn Chase Lincoln Tower at 1 South Clinton Ave.
“When you’re looking at houses, it’s all about the energy you feel walking in the front door,” Partners + Napier President Courtney Cotrupe said.
The same apparently is true with office space, especially for Cotrupe. Moving into The Metropolitan was literally following in her father’s footprints. For 25 years, Gordon Gray worked on the fourth floor of the building for Lincoln First Bank, then Chase Manhattan Corp.
Now it’s her new work home. That’s called an omen.
Except her father wouldn’t recognize the tower, let alone the 40,000 square feet of work space they’ve leased. With the expertise of architects at Bergmann and the building skills of The Pike Company, Partners + Napier designed the ultra-modern “resimmerical” office for its 160 employees.
Want to stand while you work? You can. Want to lounge on a leather couch? You got it. Need a little private space for a meeting but not an entire board room? Pick a room because you’ve got choices. Want to put your feet up and relax while you create? Feel free.
The masterminds at the integrated creative agency — Partners + Napier was No. 2 among marketing communications firms on the RBJ’s Book of Lists 2019 — are allowed to enjoy some of the comforts of home while on the job (thus, resimmercial).
“We wanted to create a flexible environment to inspire the agency’s best work,” Cotrupe said.
Employees often prefer their environment to promote togetherness, the all-for-one and one-for-all mentality. That’s not easy to accomplish when you occupy two floors. So they jackhammered away the middle of the floor and created a huge cascading staircase made of century-old white oak. The staircase is 16 feet wide on the fourth floor and tapers out to 24 feet by the time you’re on the third floor.
But this is more than just a spiffy set of stairs. It doubles as an informal auditorium for staff meetings, with viewing screens at the bottom and midway point.
“When you’re on two floors, it feels like there’s an executive floor and then this other floor,” said Sharon Napier, the company co-founder and CEO. “We said, ‘Can you do this staircase for us?’ No one had ever cut a hole in a floor this big in Rochester.
“But now instead of a typical conference room, we created an amphitheater.”
They made sure they built with the future in mind. The space will accommodate 225 employees and they’re hoping to add 10 jobs soon. In 2018, the firm grew by 32.
They needed additional employees because the client portfolio has grown to 18. Schuman Cheese, Conduent and The Strong National Museum of Play were among new clients joining a list that already included Constellation Brands, Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield, Xerox Corp., Pyrex and Delta Vacations. There was a 31 percent gain in net revenue from 2017 to 2018.
“How did we get here?” Napier asked. “Something we believe in is culture, getting great people who are really as invested as you are. We built our business on what our clients need next.”
Partners + Napier hasn’t left their past behind, however. The sign from their Mill Street office hangs in the new space.
The firm’s original 40 employees pitched in to buy the sign back in 2004 for around $2,200, Napier said. More than half of those people are still with the company.
“The Brave 40 we called them after we bought ourselves from a holding company,” Napier said. “Now we’ll tell our next chapter with the Met 160.”
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