Birmingham’s innovation district The Switch is home to tech leaders like Sanjay Singh of Pack Health and Dave Gray of Biso Collective, but Singh and Gray weren’t the only early adopters of this place. Nationally sought-after professional food and travel photographer Stephen DeVries has been growing his business in The Switch since 2016.
“At the time I was largely focused on still photography and had a studio manager and myself as the full staff. Over the 5 years that I’ve been at the ACME I’ve grown to focus on video production, stop-motion animation and larger scale photo shoots. With that, my team has grown to six full-time crew members and other folks joining us part-time,” said DeVries.
DeVries’s commercial and editorial client list includes big names like Publix, The Home Depot, P.F. Chang’s, Garden and Gun, Southern Living and Wine Spectator – and the list goes on. So it’s no surprise DeVries has outgrown his studio and office on 2nd Avenue North in the Switch. DeVries’s Switch-born innovation is now driving his relocation.
The Switch—formerly known as the Innovation District— is one of REV’s focus districts. It’s Birmingham’s destination to continue fueling a vibrant innovation-based ecosystem. A place designed for start-ups and small businesses to thrive in the Magic City. A place to showcase success and become a source of pride. And, a place that supports and inspires entrepreneurs of all types from all backgrounds.
“We’ve recently added Alabama’s first BOLT jr. cinebot – a motion-controlled camera robot – so we plan on finding a space with room to operate and run,” he said. “We also have plans to build out a state-of-the-art post-production theater for editors to use. There’s a great energy to the city… I love the creative community here and collaboration is a key part of how I work, so being in the central hub of the city center is perfect for us.”
With DeVries’s growing team and the growing scope of his work, he is looking for a larger space with the help of Cooper Smith, Senior Associate at SRS Real Estate Partners.
DeVries’s relocation opens up move-in ready office space in the Switch District for the next innovator in the ACME building at 1305 2nd Avenue N, only a block away from Innovation Depot. Cooper says the ideal tenant for the ACME building is an office user looking to build or grow a creative culture.
“The Studio 104 space is unlike any other in The Switch, starting with the gated parking and a kitchen similar to one you would find in your home,” he said. “The newly renovated Studio 104 is a 3,600 square foot space with executive offices, a collaborative open area workspace, and a fully built out kitchen. The 1,600 square foot bay gives an office or retail user the opportunity to create an identity for their brand by designing a space that meets their needs or keeping with the open concept.”
Cooper, who credits recent momentum in the Switch to the visible synergy, says the ACME building offers new businesses the opportunity to cement themselves in this emerging district at an affordable rental rate.
That momentum is something DeVries not only appreciates, but underscores.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching the district come back to life over the past decade and a half and can’t wait to see what’s next, said DeVries. “ I’ve been able to not only watch, but experience the evolution and reviving of the district first hand. It’s been a very exciting time to be downtown and especially in this part of downtown.”
If your business is growing and the Switch is somewhere you’d like to call home, we want to talk to you!
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