Architecture and design firm Marvel adds Richmond to its universe

From left, Caroline Frantz, Mitch Crowder and Tyler Silvestro are handling Marvel’s Richmond office. (Kate Thompson Pictures)

An architecture company with roots in Puerto Rico and New York has proven an workplace in downtown Richmond.

Marvel, named for principal and co-founder Jonathan Marvel, has established up shop at 300 E. Main St., filling a 1,200-square-foot storefront room in the St. Albans Lofts creating in Monroe Ward.

The 9-calendar year-old business focuses on architecture, landscape design and urban organizing in these types of areas as household, business, cultural, education and learning, hospitality and recreation.

Captaining Marvel’s Richmond staff is Tyler Silvestro, a companion with the business who’s taking care of the nearby place of work with Mitch Crowder and Caroline Frantz. The 3 reconnected right here following just about every relocated from New York, prompting Silvestro to propose the plan of opening an business to the firm’s founding companions.

“We experienced personnel intrigued in residing in a metropolis of a certain scale. Richmond is that scale,” Silvestro stated. “It has that exhilaration and that dynamism that we glance for in a local community.”

While the business just opened, Marvel has experienced boots on the floor in this article for months.

Crowder rejoined the business in December after a five-yr stint with area shop Architecturefirm. He had labored for Marvel before relocating to Richmond 5 many years ago.

Silvestro reported the decision to go ahead with a Richmond business was pushed in aspect by the pandemic, as perfectly as by a ask for for proposals that caught the firm’s eye.

The office environment capabilities a sizable meeting desk for collaborating on tasks.

“When I floated this notion to the founding associates, there were being some RFPs that were being quite higher-profile at the time. VMFA was a single of them,” Silvestro claimed, referring to the Virginia Museum of Fantastic Arts’ $190 million expansion that’s now about to get underway.

“We assumed that we necessary to find a neighborhood partner, and Mitch’s title virtually immediately cropped back again up,” Silvestro explained. “We in fact debated possessing a partnership with Architecturefirm for that pursuit. That’s when we reconnected with Mitch, and Caroline at that time was in this article, so we have been all talking alongside one another.”

Crowder, a Virginia indigenous who grew up south of Richmond, experienced moved listed here with his partner soon after 10 several years in New York, 3 of those people with Marvel. He reported Richmond’s urban material and heritage ended up attracts, as properly as its current and possible progress.

“It’s a extremely exclusive southern metropolis that also feels quite urban, and that was some thing that was very vital for us,” Crowder reported. “Being right here for 5 years, it’s a city that has just developed by leaps and bounds. It is unbelievably enjoyable to be a portion of that,” he said.

Frantz, a Virginia Tech grad, was drawn to Richmond in a similar way.

“There’s quite the burgeoning creative scene right here, there’s a great deal of development taking place, and we seriously want to be a component of supplying again to this community and making great style and design and superior structures a steady detail that is popping up throughout the city,” she reported.

Silvestro, who moved to Charlottesville with his spouse in the early months of the pandemic, said the distant functioning that arrived with it knowledgeable the firm that a 3rd business office was possible.

Marvel is leasing a 1,200-square-foot house at 300 E. Principal St. (Jonathan Spiers picture)

“There was no inclination to do so prior to the pandemic,” he mentioned. “We needed to get out of New York, and out of the blue we realized we ended up residing in a globe in which every person can get the job done very properly remotely. A 12 months and a fifty percent into it, we’re continue to performing very effectively on initiatives in the Northeast all the way down to Puerto Rico, in which we have a different workplace.”

Puerto Rican roots

Marvel’s Puerto Rican roots start with Jonathan Marvel’s father, Thomas Marvel, who Silvestro stated was integral in introducing modernist architecture to the island. His firm, Marvel & Marchand Architects, shares Marvel’s San Juan office. Silvestro claimed the two companies joined forces when Jonathan introduced Marvel in 2013, pursuing the split of his prior New York company, Rogers Marvel Architects.

“It became the framework for why we felt cozy opening up an office in Richmond,” Silvestro stated, “which was an capacity to work in two places of work properly on assignments in any area. The notion that the San Juan business office and the New York office had this romance allows an business office like Richmond to flourish and upstart in a way that we’re self-assured will function.”

Silvestro explained his and his colleagues’ respective disciplines balance out the area place of work. Silvestro’s concentration is landscape architecture, when Crowder’s working experience is mostly in hospitality and multifamily residential, both of those market place-level and decrease-profits. Frantz’s track record is largely in colleges and increased education and learning jobs.

Crowder, a UNC-Charlotte grad with a master’s from Harvard, reported he and Frantz are also pursuing institutional perform with universities in Virginia and North Carolina. They’re also wanting to retain the services of graduates from neighborhood and regional style faculties. Their area team of five consists of landscape designer Tonghuan Wu and architect Cody Solberg.

Even though not however lively on jobs in Richmond, Crowder claimed they are actively on the lookout and are in talks with people today he’s met in his several years listed here. The firm’s closest operate to Richmond is in D.C. and Northern Virginia, the place it designed a pedestrian plaza at the Pentagon, the Israeli Lounge at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, President’s Park South and the Countrywide Mall’s Structure Gardens.

“We are actively searching to develop the Marvel portfolio in the Richmond market place as effectively as in Virginia,” Crowder reported, adding that they’ve been in touch with builders primarily on multifamily residential opportunities.

The group worked with local agency Bank Street Advisors on its business search, which Crowder reported concentrated on Jackson Ward and the Arts District ahead of landing on St. Albans Lofts, a former place of work creating transformed to blended-use in 2017. Pollard & Bagby’s Tony Rolando and Scott White represented the landlord in lease negotiations.

“It’s a ground-stage house, which was extremely significant for us,” Crowder reported. “We wanted to have a visible road presence and a connection to the streets, so that individuals realized that we were being listed here and we had that relationship to pedestrians strolling by our storefront on a each day foundation.”

With the road presence afforded by their floor-degree place, Silvestro claimed they search forward to even more embedding them selves and Marvel in the local community.

“The 3 of us discovered every other right here, and we all offer these kinds of distinctive components to what Marvel presents firmwide,” he explained. “If it wasn’t the 3 of us, (it) may well not have meshed as effectively, but the three of us did so properly that it just grew to become evident that we necessary to start out this business collectively. Which is the tripod on which we’re going to build our regional presence here.”