2019 was an exciting year for LGA!
Most significantly, we witnessed the retirement of our founders, Suzan Lami and Bob Grubb. They are doing well, loving their time as grandparents and volunteering – Suzan sits on many non-profit boards that support businesswomen, and Bob volunteers at several great non-profit institutions.
While we said goodbye to Suzan and Bob, we also said hello to many more in 2019 – 14, to be exact! We are well over 60 people in our Uptown Office, and we are always on the lookout for more great additions to our team. With a strong economy and diversity of project type, LGA is poised for even more growth in 2020.
In our Airport studio, we saw that low interest rates and the need to modernize outdated airports drove much of the work we’ve been a part of in 2019.
Additionally, we saw a remarkable change in the industry, with mergers and acquisitions of many big names, including a number of our current clients. As a result, our Airport studio has been very busy and has nearly doubled in size this year.
Large-scale airport projects of note this year were those at LaGuardia and Nashville Airports. Additionally, we helped UK chain W.H. Smith win their first RFP in the US, and we are in talks with retail groups, developers, and airports around the country and the globe.
Close to Home
The strength of the Greater Pittsburgh economy continues to spur growth in our Commercial Studio. In particular, the demand created by the tech synergies at Carnegie Mellon and Pitt and the UPMC/AHN arms race have given a boost to new kinds of housing, office spaces, and healthcare environments.
In our education segment, we secured several new clients, including a job at Penn State and several PASSHE schools, while continuing and expanding our involvement with Pitt and Duquesne.
In the corporate realm, we have continued our long relationship with Shorenstein and Faros. Additionally, we are wrapping up construction of a new 80k SF world-headquarters in Maryland, in CDs for a signature office space in Midtown Manhattan, rethinking the future of Station Square, and finishing up office spaces for several global tech companies as they expand into Pittsburgh!
In our housing market, LGA was the lead designer of over 30% of our region’s affordable housing projects for LIHTC applications this year. In total, we are in various stages of design for over 1000 units of housing. Projects include the restoration of a historic Pittsburgh high-rise, the revival of two landmarks in Erie with Beacon Properties, the reconstruction of an abandoned city block in Clairton’s main street business district with the Mon Valley Initiative, the transformation of a notorious housing project in Rankin for Pennrose and ACHA, and rethinking senior living for numerous projects with Integracare.
Finally, LGA has made a significant push into the Medical market by focusing on projects and clients where we can utilize our experience in other markets, making inroads both with the national names and the regional players. We helped open a new eye center for UPMC in Oakland, a new lab is on the boards for Allegheny Hospital on the Northside, and several projects for Washington Hospital, St. Clair, and a women’s private care center are ready to start at the beginning of 2020.
In our Retail studio, we have seen volatility and change in the market over the last five years. Today’s retailers are looking to create an experience that supports the brand. As such, we have adapted our design strategies to accommodate our clients who are looking for unique spaces and one-off designs.
Last year, we continued to work with traditional retailers like Aero and Rue 21. However, we have also grown with one-off retailers such as jewelry maven, Kendra Scott, to design jewel-like stores that offer many incentives for customers to visit the store and drive on-line sales. We have completed the design for a flagship store for a professional sports franchise to rethink the game-day experience in Pittsburgh. Additionally, we have helped the makeup chain, Bluemercury, grow nationwide both within Macy’s Department Store and in their street locations. Finally, Philip Pelusi, a longtime client of LGA, asked us to help them rebrand, and we are in the process of opening up several new salons around town.
We are grateful for our clients, partners, and friends who helped make 2019 a great year – and we are looking forward to a prosperous 2020!
Jonathan Glance RA, AIA, NCARB