ORANGE COUNTY, CA—Dallas-based multifamily and single-family design firm BSB Design Inc. is re-entering the Orange County market by opening a new office here. The firm had an office in Costa Mesa for nearly seven years before closing it in 2009 due to the recession, but it’s ready to ramp back up again now that the economy is moving in the right direction, Kelly Osburn, market leader, multifamily, for the firm, tells GlobeSt.com.
“We had downsized like a lot of architecture firms during the recession,” says Osburn. “Before I joined the firm, they had downsized from 3,000 people to below 100.” The new office, the exact location of which is yet to be determined, will be the firm’s 10th.
Why is Orange County so important to BSB? “From a design standpoint, we need to be in Orange County to compete. It’s always been our understanding that that’s where you need to be. We have a Northern California presence in Sacramento, but the two regions are so different that we have to have one in the north and one in the south.”
BSB has hired Paige Cutcomp as its Orange County business director to run the office out of the Newport/Irvine area. “We’ll do an executive space in Newport/Irvine to start with to get us out there quickly,” says Osburn. “We have clients there on the single-family side who want us to be local and have boots on the ground. We’re working through that, and our first priority is to work with them.”
One of BSB’s goals is to grow its multifamily business in Southern California, and Osburn says it is also trying to diversify what it offers to different clients in order to make the firm more recession proof. “We’ve grown to the point where we want to prepare for the future, for the next recession. We have a golf-course clubhouse designer in Chicago, a person underneath him to work in Southern California, a commercial division and a design-build firm primarily for medical-office buildings in Mississippi and the Missouri Valley. We also have a master planner in DC. There are different things we can offer.”
Osburn adds that the labor shortage for multifamily development in Southern California is holding back development. “We can’t build enough to meet the demand because of the labor. I predict the cycles between the downturns will be extended because of this and we’ll be on a seven-year run continually. There will be moderate growth, as long as we can keep finding the trades to meet the demand, and that will help us grow out a little quicker. But Orange County needs more job growth, and California needs to continue to grow what they have and do well. Orange County is the epicenter for design—everyone wants to live in Southern California. These aspects continue to make our market sector stronger.”