The holiday season is a natural time to pause for a moment of reflection. My psychologist brother has been trying to convince me to embrace mindfulness, but I’ve never been one who finds meditation to come easily. On this particular night, late at the office, I can’t help but to take a moment to be thankful for where I work each day.
After having spent more than 5 years in Dilworth, Spengler & Agans moved offices earlier this month to the Elizabeth neighborhood. Our suite at 1713 East Boulevard was great for our firm as we started our careers, but we reached the point where we had outgrown the space (and outlasted our lease). And so began a year-long search for a new home—that ended with the purchase of 352 North Caswell.
Our “new” office was built in 1923 and, for the last century, had only two owners. Most recently, the Caldwell family raised three boys in the house. We’ve enjoyed getting to know the Caldwell men whose late father was part of the Greatest Generation, serving as a fighter pilot in World War II and surviving as a prisoner of war. Frank Caldwell returned home and built a family and career in Charlotte, using the front of the residence as an office of his architectural firm. A flagpole mount remains atop the roof of the porch, where the Caldwells prominently flew the American flag.
Much has changed in the last century—not least of which is the quality of construction. 352 North Caswell is rock solid. They just don’t make them like this anymore. The 2x4s are true—not like the 1.5” x 3.5s” for which we now must settle. The plaster walls, the 10-foot ceilings, and the hardwood floors all harken back to an age when buildings were meant to last.
We did make some changes. Our renovation work included adding a parking area, converting the kitchen to an office, renovating the bathrooms, and re-finishing the floors. We removed the florescent lights and drop ceilings to restore the original charm of the heightened ceilings.
For our clients and colleagues, we look forward to welcoming you to our new office. We now have three gathering spaces—including a sunroom for informal meetings, a conference room fully equipped with updated technology for remote video meetings, and a second conference room upstairs for depositions and mediations. In the warmer months, we will use the porch to host happy hours and BBQs. In the nearer term, we will host an open house/holiday party (details to follow).
I want to thank the team of professionals who helped us along in this journey. Scott Fuller of Legacy Real Estate patiently guided us through any and all available properties, from an abandoned church to what’s now a brewery in NoDa—we searched far and wide to find 352. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Jean Moodie of BEFCOR, a non-profit organization that helps small business owners manage the SBA loan process. (Jean helped connect us with a new program offering commercial mortgages on a 25-year term at 10% down—much more favorable for a small business’s cashflow than your traditional commercial real estate loan at 20 years and 20% down.) Also on the banking side, Kelly Love was instrumental in getting us approved for financing; Paragon Bank offers some fantastic options for private and commercial banking—they’ll literally send a pigeon/courier to pick up deposits. And Randy Podosek of Podosek Construction was our gifted and patient general contractor who helped us develop and realize our vision for the space. We also would like to thank all the skilled craftsmen and contractors who worked with Randy to update our new home.
If you’re a small business owner interested in purchasing a commercial property, we would enthusiastically refer you to any and all of these folks
Lastly, I would like to thank all of our clients over the years who helped us make this move and invest in our firm’s future growth. We couldn’t have done it without you. Happy holidays to all.