Looking back is a good precursor to looking forward. Year 3 for Comma presented some market challenges that years 1 & 2 didn’t see. We’ve recently seen the multifamily market fall back down to Earth after being up for many years. That has led us to some interesting opportunities in other markets, including industrial, office space, duplexes, townhomes, retail, and hospitality. This variety is something we value, as it keeps our team sharp across multiple project types. So much was gained through the amazing depth of projects and clients we worked with this year. Most recently, we have worked with a non-profit private school that has a bold mission and a trailblazer at the helm. These community-building projects can be challenging in terms of timeline and budget, but they are rewarding for the impact they have on the end user.
While most of our work took place in middle Tennessee, we expanded into new territory with opportunities in Alabama. Our largest project to date, a 210 unit mixed-use building in Nashville, is nearing completion, while another mixed-use project is starting construction. These large-scale projects provide amazing opportunities for our staff to learn from our consultants, contractors, and owners, and we love the inevitable real-time problem-solving that happens in the field. Currently, we have 6 projects in some phase of construction, with several set to deliver before the end of the year.
The beginning of year 3 was fairly hectic as we moved into a 1,600 sf space in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. This was such a welcomed change and provided us with a much improved space for collaboration, client presentations, and comfortable work stations. Year 3 also saw Comma host our first intern, an Architecture student from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We loved the opportunity to not only provide a firm experience for her but to also learn from her throughout the summer. It’s always valuable to understand where technology is taking students and their work, and we look for opportunities to implement some of those ideas into our work.
In the future, we’re excited to leverage our 3 years of experience and our completed projects to have a larger role in public projects, non-profit organizations, and master planning efforts. Year 4 appears to be another year where we will be watching commercial real estate and getting creative to help solve the challenges of developers in a new world of construction costs, rents, and interest rates. Much like this year, we look forward to opportunities we may have never previously considered while engaging with more and more clients and causes. More importantly, Year 4 is set up to increase our number of registered Architects to 4. One small step for Architecture; one giant leap for Comma Designworks.