Filling the void: class A space

Watertown financial advisors build office space to fit new needs

Aubertine and Currier’s Matthew R. Morgia, Annette M. Mason and Jayson J. Jones outside of the Morgia Group’s new office building on Watertown’s Mullin Street with Michael A. Morgia, of the Morgia Group and HighTower Advisors, and Patrick J. Currier from Aubertine and Currier. Photo by Norm Johnston.

If you’re trying to determine what Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors specializes in, it may be faster to ask first what the Watertown-based firm doesn’t do.

“We’ve done a lot of work with healthcare, religious facilities, commercial retail development, multi-family housing, single-family housing, pretty much everything except educational facilities,” said architect Patrick J. Currier Sr. “We’ve pretty much covered the full gamut of architectural and engineering work. Because of the geographical area we live in, it’s hard for an architectural firm to say ‘we just do health care, or ‘we just do K-12 schools’ or anything like that. Everyone within the company brings to the table something specific.”

Recently, Aubertine and Currier has built structures as varied as Watertown’s Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, a facility for Waste Management Inc. in Evans Mills and a new entertainment pavilion at Clayton’s Frink Park. They’ve undertaken projects from Singer Island to Fort Drum, and they’ve focused on everything from homes and hospitals to swan ponds and border patrol stations.

It’s what responsible architects do: try to really get inside the client’s head and figure out where they’re going to go in five years, 10 years. — Brian A. Jones, architect, Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors

So it’s no surprise that this jack-of-all-trades firm was approached in 2011 to create a rare and somewhat ambiguous commodity in Watertown: class A office space.

“There’s not really a strict definition of it, because whenever you’re speaking of aesthetics and quality it’s all kind of based on comparison,” Mr. Currier said. “I think when a lot of people are talking about class A office space around here they’re just looking for something at a higher quality level.”

“Something that has some character and charm,” added architect Brian A. Jones. “Something that smells good, is clean, has new finishes — that kind of thing.”

In this case, the professional office space was required by the Watertown-based Morgia Group, part of the national HighTower Advisors financial advisory and wealth management firm. Originally located in the Medical Arts Building at 171 Clinton St., the Morgia brothers had found themselves in need of more space and technological amenities – additional telephone and data lines, for example.

“We moved in there initially as temporary space, knowing that at some point we were going to need space that was a little more modern,” said managing director and partner Philip “P.J.” Banazek about the Medical Arts Building. “We looked around quite a bit, met with just about every potential landlord in town and looked at a number of other different office options as well, but where the price was appropriate there wasn’t enough space for our office.”

After not finding what they were looking for in buildings such as 215 Washington St. and the HSBC Bank facility, the Morgia Group decided to buy their own property at 151 Mullin St. in August 2011. The building was designed by Aubertine and Currier from the ground up to meet the firm’s specific needs and they moved into the new facility in April.

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]

Gabrielle Hovendon is a former Watertown Daily Times reporter and freelance writer who lives in Watertown. Contact her at ghovendon@gmail.com.