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Still Growing, BW is Moving to Bigger Digs

Still Growing, BW Is Moving To Bigger Digs

'Make great together': For anyone who has dreaded climbing BW's old bleachers, relax. Relief is on the way!

'Make great together': For anyone who has dreaded climbing BW's old bleachers, relax. Relief is on the way!

'Arty misfits' are still going strong.

'Arty misfits' are still going strong.

by ROB McMANAMY | Jan 12, 2016

No guts, no glory.  As a cauldron of creative entrepreneurial energy, Chicago's 1260 West Madison is an address with more than a little street cred. For years, it has been home to Threadless, "the most innovative small company in America," according to Inc. magazine, which put the founders on its cover in 2008.

As of Feb. 1, however, the 15,000-sq-ft facility will become the spacious new home of BuiltWorlds, the 18-month-old multimedia company that offers news, analysis, and events that promote innovation and connections within the built environment and beyond. "We are very excited about this move," says BuiltWorlds founder Matt Gray. "It may be just three blocks from our current location but it will more than triple our office space and exponentially expand our multimedia capabilities." 

The two-level structure offers ample space for offices, meetings, exhibits, events, parking, and creative collaboration. For Threadless, which is relocating downtown, the building has served as both canvass and workshop for the firm's "arty misfits", who turned the tiny T-shirt maker into a wildly successful design incubator for producing original apparel, banners, posters, greeting cards, and more. "They are certainly a tough act to follow," adds Gray. "But I also feel this transition is appropriate. We can only hope that as BuiltWorlds continues to grow its own community of entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, and builders, that some of Threadless’ innovative and inspirational spirit will rub off on us."

We can only hope that as BuiltWorlds continues to grow... that some of Threadless’ innovative spirit will rub off on us.
— Matt Gray, BW founder

BW, itself, definitely needs the elbow room, having grown from just two employees in the summer of 2014 to more than 16 today, with more on the way. "Our projection is that we will be over 30 employees by the end of this year," says BW cofounder and managing director Matt Abeles. "So I am thrilled by this change of address, and the fact that it offers us even more room to grow down the road. From what I am seeing in our industry, I feel sure that we will need it."

The new site also offers enhanced studio space for BuiltWorlds' video and broadcasting operations and a large, ADA-accessible, open area which will be used as auditorium, meeting, gallery, and co-working space for BW and members of its broader community. All share a like-minded desire to explore better ways to design, build, operate, maintain and maximize the utility of our world's finite resources. 

"I am very excited to see how our events and hackathons will evolve in the new, massive atrium," adds Ian Manger, BW director of marketing. "This move is a great step to showcase our media capabilities on all levels, especially in the creative and journalistic realms."

  • Click through the gallery above for a glimpse of our about-to-be new West Loop home.

"The energy and sense of urgency in our industry right now just shows no sign of ebbing," says Jed Levenstein, BW director of operations. "In fact, we already have several workshops and other interactive events planned for the new space. So, whether it's with tech companies, equipment manufacturers, or universities, this move will actually enable us to become a physical hub for information exchange within our industry."

Speaking of hubs, industry job search engine Hard Hat Hub (H3) is both BW's next-door neighbor and its oldest partner. It will also be moving to the new space. "We're excited about the continued partnership with BW and its sponsor companies," adds Andy Jansen, H3 cofounder. "As we expand our own event offerings to strategically connect people, contractors and tech companies, the unique 1260 Madison location should enhance the overall experience for H3 members, too." 

Indeed, "user experience" is a vital consideration nowadays. And innovators living both online and around the globe now can look to our new physical space as a further affirmation that we are serious about our stated mission: driving positive, sustainable and substantive change in the many industries that serve the built environment.

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