COMMERCIAL APPEAL | TOM BAILEY
A consulting firm will move about a block to within view of the Mississippi River this year, from space it leases in a historic Downtown building to another historic building the firm's owner bought last month.
DCA founder Doug Carpenter has acquired the 117-year-old National Biscuit Co. (NABISCO) warehouse at 11 W. Huling from Memphis photographer Woody Woodliff.
The two existing occupants are the architecture firm brg3s, and Woodliff. The architects occupy the open, 8,500 square feet on the first floor and the Woodliffs live in a three-level, 2,200-square-foot condo there.
Public records show Carpenter paid $1.48 million for the charming, old brick building that features two roll-down doors in front and a courtyard, large trees, rooftop deck with river views, original pine floors, exposed brick walls and beams, and gated parking for 27 vehicles in back.
The building sits on a half-acre across Huling from Spaghetti Warehouse and a few dozen yards away from the tall river bank.
The eight-year-old DCA, a communications consulting agency, is now headquartered on the third floor of the 431 S. Main building.
Carpenter is a proponent of Downtown, believes the district's growing energy makes it the place to be and wants to become more invested there.
He also has long admired the 11 W. Huling building, which he has known from his longtime working relationship with Woodliff. Carpenter pursued buying it when he heard that Woodliff was considering selling it.
"I'm intrigued by the residential part for both business and personal reasons,'' Carpenter said. "We have a lot of people in town and having a place connected to the office would be a great asset.
"Exploring an Airbnb is interesting, and a place for me and my family is interesting, with the river view. From the office side, I love being Downtown just a block and a half from where I am now.''
Woodliff will continue living in the building until September, and the lease for brg3s ends in November.
Carpenter will discuss with brg3s principals whether there will be room for both firms there.
"It's really about, are we able to configure the building in a way that provides them the footage and resources they need, and us as obviously the primary tenant,'' Carpenter said. "... I'm working with brg3s to see if we both can stay.''
Brg3s managing principal Stephen Berger said the firm "loves where we are and we would love to stay and co-locate with Doug and his group. But it's up to our new building owner.''
DCA, which now occupies 5,200 square feet on South Main, will bring about a dozen employees to 11 W. Huling. Brg3s has 16 employees.
"There really is room'' for both firms, Berger said. "Woody has a three-level condo that's part of the space. He's lived in it... Doug will have that and the space we're in. When you combine those two areas, I think there's plenty. (But) we'll have to wait.''
DCA will move to 11 W. Huling by the end of this year.