When Keith Spina decided to move his architecture firm out of rented offices and into a new home, he wanted the space to be distinctive and fun.
Judging by the bicycles lined up out front of Glidden Spina Architects’ new headquarters and by the second-floor lounge with a red pool table, Spina accomplished his goal.
Spina’s firm last year paid $1.45 million for the 10,000-square-foot building at 207 Sixth St. in West Palm Beach. Glidden Spina spent an additional $700,000 to renovate the long-empty building, once home to a marine supply store.
Glidden Spina has 30 workers, and Spina says he doesn’t want them to feel stressed by their busy schedules. So he encourages them to grab one of the beach cruisers lined up in front of the office and go for a ride, or to visit the lounge to relax.
“We’re trying to push the envelope in corporate thinking,” he said.
Name: Keith Spina
Title: Senior partner at Glidden Spina Architects
Hometown: West Palm Beach, born and raised. I went to Belvedere Elementary, Conniston Middle School and Forest Hill High School.
About your company: “We try to separate our firm as a design firm. If you just want a good architect, there are a lot of choices. But if you want a design firm, that narrows the choices. If you say, ‘I want to do an incredible building,’ my philosophy is you need to hire a true design firm. There’s an art to it, and there’s a science to it.
“When the recent recession hit, we had 30 people, and we were able to keep 25 people employed. We didn’t make much money for a year or two, but we were able to keep everything together. Another thing that sets us apart is our philanthropic involvement. One of the things we’re involved in is Quantum House at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Quantum House provides a place to live for families when they have a family member or a child in the hospital. It feels like your home, and families can stay there for a very nominal charge. It’s amazing. We’re adding another 15 or 20 rooms, so it’s going to double the size of the place. We donate a significant part of our services.”
Best piece of business advice you ever received: “The most valuable asset we have is the people who work with us. So we treat those people like it’s their company and they’re the most important thing to us, so that we can be successful with our clients. Our new building here has really helped us push that to the next level. I came in today and there was no music on, and I was like, ‘What happened to the music?’ Someone didn’t like the music and she turned it off, so that’s OK.”
Biggest challenge: “Finding great people to work here. That’s what we do – we sell our talent and service, and it’s all about the people we hire.”
Biggest business mistake: “Because we’re in a complicated business, we make mistakes every day. The thing we try to promote is to take care of the mistake. Don’t worry about whose fault it is. Just get in there and take care of it.”
What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? “I love Palm Beach County. It’s one of the best places in the world to live, and people are starting to figure that out more. I heard that some demographers were saying that at some time in the future, Palm Beach County will be one of the most expensive places in the world to live. If you’re not here already, you may not be able to afford to live here. I’m thrilled – I’ve got a home, I’ve got an office, so we’re in.”