Ellin & Tucker’s new office space is more typical of a Silicon Valley technology startup than an East Coast accounting firm.
Edwin R. Brake, Ellin & Tucker’s managing director, led a tour of the firm’s new 31,000-square-foot office space at 400 E. Pratt St. The new space will feature amenities like a “fun space,” a multimedia center with a bar and fridge stocked with beer. The office, which will take up the building’s second and part of the third floors, will also feature a more open office space with lower work stations and fewer isolated offices to create a more collaborative environment.
“Accountants are usually not pushing the envelope as much as we’re pushing the envelope,” Brake said. “Certainly we’re not the norm.”
Brake said when the company decided to leave the firm’s offices of 16-years at 100 S. Charles St., he didn’t set out looking to create a space so different from most accounting firms. When Courtenay Jenkins of Cushman & Wakefield started showing available properties he said most of the spaces had a traditional corporate feeling. He said the innovative office design developed partly because of the space on Pratt Street and also through input from younger professionals.
“I have a young workforce, and the office they envision is different from what I envision,” Brake said.
Features in the office that employees asked for include a cafe, pool table and a nursing room. Another one of the new office’s impressive amenities is the 3,000-square-foot patio on a green roof that overlooks the Inner Harbor south across Pratt Street.
Nearly 100 Ellin & Tucker employees will start working at the office on Sept. 29. The company has signed a 12-year lease with the building’s owner PDL Pratt Associates through the leasing agent and property manager Cushman & Wakefield.
The new office space, which also features views overlooking the Inner Harbor, isn’t all about making employees happy. It’s also about providing impressive space for clients as well. Although Ellin & Tucker represents clients such as law firms that have high-end meeting space, other clients do not.
Brake said many of their clients work in warehouse or distribution centers that don’t have the needed meeting space. So the Pratt Street office will provide conference centers for those clients to be able to meet and also provide space when IRS employees are at the firm. But he also said easily accessible parking is a major selling point for the office.
“If you’re going to make clients come downtown you have to make it easy and convenient for them,” Brake said.
The company also liked the spot because it can be part of a Pratt Street initiative to make the aging Inner Harbor area more vibrant. Brake said right now the area is too often just a tourist attraction that doesn’t lure locals to the area. The building at 400 E. Pratt St. is currently undergoing renovations that involve adding a two-story a 24,000-square-foot expansion that extends the building closer to the street and creates new street level retail.
“This is going to redefine Baltimore. We just happen to be in the middle of it,” Brake said.