BKL Moves Into Pearl District Digs

The folks at architecture and engineering firm BKL Inc. are still getting settled in to their new offices.
Each of the firm’s three principals, Kim Reeve, Stacy Loeffler and George Rochelle, point out finishing details that are still works in progress, and some of the firm’s 18 employees are still working out of boxes.
But while construction dust is just now starting to settle on their new Pearl District property, Reeve, Loeffler and Rochelle are already all smiles.
“We are really thrilled to be where we are,” Reeve said.
The group started looking for a new space several years ago.
“We outgrew the facility we were in, and we wanted the ability to expand and the ability to own our own building,” Reeve said.
“We were looking around downtown, knowing that was the place we were going to want to be, but we couldn’t find anything that was a good fit,” Loeffler said. “Almost in frustration, Kim was driving me around this part of town, and there was a huge ‘for sale’ sign in front of the building. It turned out to be exactly what we were looking for.”
But it didn’t come without challenges.
Originally constructed in 1923, the two existing structures on the site, 1623 E. Sixth St., served as warehouse and distribution center for Tulride Oil.
Loeffler, head of structural engineering, said one building had flooring built at loading-dock height, and had to be cut down to the same elevation as the other building.
The group also had other projects on its plate, forcing a delayed construction time line.
“It took too long,” Reeve said. “We had to work on this project as an aside to everything else we were doing, but it allowed us to spend more time and live more intimately with the building than we otherwise would have.”
The intimate connection the group felt toward the building led to minimalist design.
“We were all already extremely attracted to the existing building, so we wanted to do as little as possible,” said Reeve, principal architect at the firm.
The company constructed a glassed-in lobby facing Sixth Street to join the two structures, but left the main bones of the building, as well as its skin, largely intact.
“We pretty much just power washed the inside brick walls,” Rochelle, head of civil engineering, said.
The laissez-faire approach to remodeling shows off what the firm is best at, the three agreed.
“This is really what we do,” Loeffler said. “This was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our talents.”
The firm will host an open house in its new Pearl District offices on April 24.

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