“I was thinking about a new building a few years ago,” said 8-koi Founder and President Inga Young. “I wasn’t sure if I should buy an existing building or buy land and build one, but I knew that the company would need room to grow. This was even before we acquired CDE.”
Inga started her consulting business from her small single-story block home near the airport in Melbourne. After several years of working knee-to-knee with her few employees in the home office, she was fortunate to land a lease agreement for a 1,400 SF space in the professional building across the street. “I felt very lucky to have such a nice office so close to home. My commute was literally walking across the road,” Inga recalls.
8-koi spent the next handful of years quietly winning more work and hiring a few more people for administrative positions to help run several government contracts. Things fit well for a time, but when Inga had the opportunity to buy Cape Design Engineering Co. in 2019, a well-established contracting partner on Merritt Island, the operation changed quite a bit. Her commute was more than just a walk across the street.
“CDE has beautiful office space on the top floor of a very nice professional building by the mall. The team has been working there for a long time and I didn’t want to force a move,” said Inga. “But, we were in another lease and spread out. I knew I had to get serious. Around that time, I asked Dean [Rosenquist] to come on board as COO and we both agreed that buying a property for 8-koi would build equity and provide stability to help us grow into the company we both envisioned.”
“We looked at land, we looked at buildings,” said Dean of their immediate search. “We came close to a couple of deals, but nothing quite screamed out at us. Then, COVID happened.” The company’s plans came to a screeching halt.
Once the ‘new normal’ became clear, and the commercial real estate market reacted to the pandemic, Inga and Dean resumed their hunt for a new headquarters.
On September 15, 2021, Inga signed the contract to purchase the office plex at 2725 Center Place in the Suntree area, centrally-located just a short distance from US 1 and the Indian River. “It was just the perfect find,” smiled Inga. “I feel very fortunate and am so glad we didn’t rush into something else.”
The 20,000 SF two-story professional center sits on two acres and was built in 1986 during the heyday of NASA’s Shuttle program when Suntree was coming online as the hottest bedroom community for workers at Kennedy Space Center. Originally designed to be multi-purpose professional-industrial for aerospace manufacturing tenants, the first floor is 8,000 SF of office under air and 4,000 SF of high bay warehouse. The second floor is 8,000 SF of office space. Inga intends to keep the current leases intact.
“So, I’ve been bringing my dogs to the little office in Melbourne for years, and then I taught them to ride the elevator with me at the CDE office. Now, we have the perfect office space to make a pet-friendly workplace because there is a fenced-in outside patio here,” Inga is proud to remark. “We really wanted a building that reflected our unique corporate culture and located in an area that was easy to get to for most of our employees. Being close to the river with the outdoor space will, I hope, make our workplace very attractive for our employees to be comfortable and productive.”
8-koi will ride out their existing lease in Melbourne while the new office is prepped, eventually asking all the administrative staff there to move their chairs and start work in the Suntree space in early 2022. The CDE team from Merritt Island will also stay put until the lease is up there in October 2022. They will be joining the rest of the 8-koi team next fall and finally consolidate all operations in Brevard County for the foreseeable future.
Inga says, “we couldn’t have done this without the expert care and professional attention of Karen D’Alberto and John Curri of Curri Properties. They really listened to what I wanted and needed for our headquarters and they helped to make our dream a reality.”
8-koi will maintain field offices in Jacksonville, Florida and El Paso, Texas. The company now employs 150 people in total across the US.