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SBD Global/August 20, 2014/Facilities
HOK Acquires 360 Architecture For Undisclosed Price, Marking Its Return To Sports Design
Published August 19, 2014
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SEVERAL MONTHS IN THE WORKS: About two months ago, HOK contacted 360 about the potential merger, and it did not take long for 360’s six senior principals to agree on signing a deal with the larger firm considering their strategy for expanding their business. “We’ve been thinking about doing something like this,” Schrock said. “Along came a phone call from these guys at HOK that we know and respect. From the moment we met, we really hit it off. Our values are similar, our philosophy on how we do business is similar, the cultures in which we have kind of promoted and grown in are very similar. It made the balance of the discussion really easy and enjoyable.” The acquisition brings Schrock and fellow 360 co-Founder & Senior Principal George Heinlein back full circle with HOK. Both architects essentially started their careers at HOK in the '80s designing arenas and stadiums before leaving the company in '95 to launch Heinlein Schrock Stearns. In '04, Heinlein Schrock Stearns merged with CDFM2 to form 360 Architecture. Meanwhile, HOK beginning in '83 was among the pioneers in sports venue design before a group of six principals broke off in '09 and formed a separate company, in K.C., rebranding themselves as Populous. At the time of the separation five years ago, HOK signed a non-compete clause preventing it from competing against Populous for sports projects. The agreement expired at the start of '14, allowing HOK to re-enter the sports practice, confirmed Bill Hellmuth, HOK’s Washington-based President & Senior Design principal. Hellmuth’s late uncle, George Hellmuth, was one of the founders of HOK in '55. “HOK practices in many different building types ... (and) to have sport as part of our offerings is a natural for us,” Hellmuth said. “In the past, we had sport. They’re big, civic, important complex projects which is sort of our sweet spot.” The merger is the second big alliance in sports facility development in recent weeks. Last month, AECOM bought Hunt Construction, bringing together the world’s largest architectural services firm and North America’s top sports builder.