SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS

High Tech Company Uses State-of-the-Art Tools to  Envision Dream Home in Historic Factory Building

Synergis Technologies, LLC is a technology and services company that started doing business in the Quakertown area in 1985. The company has two complementary businesses: Synergis Engineering Design Solutions, one of the nation’s leading Autodesk solutions providers of CAD design software and professional services; and Synergis Software, the developer of Adept engineering document management software for clients such as FedEx Ground, Georgia Pacific, Dow Chemical, General Mills, and the United States Coast Guard.

Synergis Technologies’ Mark Mahovich (left) and Bill Knittle (right) use advanced 3D modeling software to rapidly explore design ideas for renovating Synergis’ new building space. In 2005, as Synergis grew, its employees had to move into two separate locations. The split concerned President and CEO David Sharp who founded the company on core values of family and unity.

“As soon as we were compelled to split our teams, we began looking for a new home where we could be back together,” said Sharp.

Over the next eight years, Synergis worked with longtime client Jerry Gorski, President of Gorski Engineering, Inc., a design-build developer and general contractor in Collegeville, PA. Together they searched across Montgomery, Berks, Lehigh and Bucks counties with a vision to build an ultra-modern glass and steel “high tech” structure from scratch. “We had planned for a contemporary building with easy access to major roads and plenty of open space,” said Sharp.

But despite several efforts that led to finalize designs for two different locations at Pennsylvania Turnpike Interchanges, Sharp felt “something was missing but we just couldn’t put our finger on it.” 

The breakthrough came when Gorski invited Sharp to visit the old “Best Made Hosiery” factory building, located on 5th street in downtown Quakertown, less than a mile away from the company’s current locations. The building was close to local shops and restaurants – and it had character – a red brick exterior and an exposed steel truss ceiling.  

Seeing the building, Sharp and his property-search team had an “ah-ha” moment. “We realized that the missing ingredient from all the other locations was being a part of a community. That said, we couldn’t clearly visualize how it could really be redesigned into a high tech facility with lots of open work space and plenty of light. When we looked at it  ... it was just that ... an old  factory built in the 1930’s.” 

The second floor interior of the “Best Made Hosiery” factory before the start of restoration.
A 3D rendering of the envisioned second floor of Synergis’ new facility, featuring an “open space” design. Making the dream space come true

That’s when Gorski suggested that Synergis’ technical experts could play an integral role in the solution. Synergis architectural engineer and software expert, Bill Knittle, and project manager, Mark Mahovich, worked closely with Gorski Engineering and another Synergis client, Re:vision Architects of Philadelphia, PA. Using Revit®, a sophisticated design / build / visualization solution from Autodesk®, Inc., the three companies teamed together to generate 3D building models complete with photorealistic renderings and animated “walkthroughs.” “We were able to explore multiple ideas rapidly to see exactly how the space would work for the needs of our 108 employees,” Sharp said. 

For this project to become viable, a number of other significant pieces had to get worked out. Meetings were held with Quakertown Borough officials, Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, Bucks County Economic Development Corporation, and the Governor’s Action to discuss and provide incentives to Synergis and Gorski Engineering. Synchronistic ally, the project plan was nicely anticipated and reinforced by the Borough of Quakertown’s Urban Vision and Revitalization Plan, which spearheads efforts to expand economic opportunities and enhance growth in the downtown Quakertown. Additional assistance was provided by the Quakertown School District LERTA program, which provides tax abatements for improvements to the property to attract advanced tech companies like Synergis.  

As the renovation project came together, Gorski turned for financing to longtime financial partner, Univest Corporation and the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority with their Bucks2Invest initiative. Both organizations committed and enthusiastically supported the project to secure high tech jobs for upper Bucks County and to revitalize downtown Quakertown. 

With approved final building designs and financing for $5 million in hand, Gorski confidently proceeded to purchase the facility and began construction in December of 2013. “We are thrilled to make this building a productive workplace once again,” Gorski said. “Repurposing these buildings is recycling on a large scale.”

“Persistence, technology, great people and synergy created an opportunity we couldn’t have imagined by ourselves,” stated Sharp. “Thanks to modern computer-based 3D design and visualization tools and the strong relationships we have with key project partners, we were able to envision how we could build a real dream home for our company, re-purpose an historic building, and become a vital part of the Quakertown community.”

Initially, Synergis plans to move into 27,000 square feet of the new building in September, 2014. 

For more information, visit www.synergis.com or call 800.836.5440.

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