PORTFOLIO PORTION: The conversion of Turner Field to Georgia State University Stadium is among Heery’s more than 300 sports projects. (Heery.com)

It brings experience in college athletics as part of acquisition

Two architecture firms have joined forces in part to build a sports design practice with expanded capabilities. 

The SLAM Collaborative completed the acquisition of five CBRE | Heery architectural design practices from CBRE last month, including the Heery sports design practice based in Atlanta. The sports design group has moved into SLAM’s offices in that city.

The Heery practices will now be known as Heery Design, a SLAM Studio. CBRE, which acquired Heery in 2017, will retain full ownership of the Heery interior design and engineering businesses that are part of its project management services offering. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are thrilled to have Heery, with its long history and national reputation as an industry innovator, as part of SLAM,” said Robert Pulito, president of the SLAM Collaborative.

Pulito said SLAM and Heery are a natural fit and will strengthen each other’s existing practices. Pulito said the acquisition stems in part from a SLAM strategic initiative to build its sports practice.

Heery’s sports design portfolio includes more than 300 sports projects on 97 college campuses, such as Darrel K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium renovations and expansions at the University of Texas, the University of Cincinnati Nippert Stadium expansion, Georgia State University’s conversion of Turner Field to Georgia State University Stadium, and the University of Arizona Lowell-Stevens Football Facility.

“We now have additional combined expertise, portfolio locations and client relationships to expand the sports practice,” Pulito said. “SLAM already had a few marquee sports projects, including Notre Dame’s football stadium and several minor league ballparks, ice hockey arenas and recreation centers. Heery Design’s extensive portfolio in football stadiums, team facilities and general collegiate athletic facilities is perfectly complementary and will allow us to pursue a broad spectrum of sports and recreation facilities with a new special interest effort focused on collegiate and minor league baseball stadiums, hockey arenas, and collegiate recreation and fitness centers.” 

Together, SLAM and Heery will build “a more resilient and sustainable platform that will allow us to adjust to the constant change in our economy and industry,” Pulito said.

“The additional diversity of thought and culture … will improve our design through a broader and richer dialogue,” he said.

Pulito said SLAM’s portfolio and contacts will offer Heery’s sports design practice promising opportunities to branch out. SLAM has existing offices in Connecticut, New York, Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles, and Pulito said SLAM Los Angeles, for instance, would give Heery valuable new ties to West Coast higher education contacts. 

Pulito said SLAM and Heery have worked on more than 200 higher education campuses combined. He said SLAM’s expertise on a variety of types of college projects — such as classroom, research, science, student service and residential — will open doors for Heery to pursue new project types with existing higher education clients. 

“We have university contacts, relationships and access that Heery didn’t have, so we can leverage those relationships for Heery and vice versa,” Pulito said.

In addition, the combined firm will create expanded resources, services and expertise for both teams, Pulito said. For instance, he said Heery will gain access to SLAM’s structural engineering and landscape architecture services to support its projects. 

Other Heery practices included in the deal were its justice design practice in Orlando and health care design practices in Denver; Iowa City, Iowa; and Philadelphia. The acquisition includes the stand-alone Heery offices associated with the practices, as well as the architectural book of business. Approximately 70 Heery professionals are joining SLAM’s team of 210 as part of the agreement.

In a statement, Heery Design managing directors Mike Holleman (Atlanta’s sports design practice), Russ Sedmak (Denver’s health care design practice) and Douglas Kleppin (Orlando’s justice design practice) said: “Among the Heery Design team, there is a real sense of excitement and positivity about the future. SLAM is well known in the industry for creative design and big thinking. We have always had a philosophy and an attitude focused on doing what’s right for our clients. SLAM shares our passion for design, and we are excited to join a team so focused on innovation, collaboration and integrity. This combination will be a great thing for our existing and future customers and employees.”