By Meghan Hall
Vantis, a commercial interior construction firm, has experienced quick success in the Bay Area’s Silicon Valley market, and just several years after its founding, is eyeing another tech-oriented region for expansion. Last month, Vantis announced the opening of its Seattle office, which will serve the Spokane and Pacific Northwest markets. The firm is seeking to continue to build its relationships with many Northern California firms who also have a presence in the region, as well as expand its impact on the local construction industry. The Registry spoke with Vantis’ Ryan Ware and Mark Conway about both markets and Vantis’ vision for the future.
Vantis was only launched in January of 2019 — and the firm has grown quickly. What specific strategies have allowed the company to expand and gain its footing so quickly?
Ryan Ware (RW): Our focus. Our focus has been on integrating off site fabrication into the planning and design process, which increasingly makes sense as part of many construction jobs. Being a specialist in this area is rare, and opens opportunities to support clients who are looking to use prefabricated solutions on their projects or are open to the idea, which we can help them understand better.
Vantis has an established presence in Silicon Valley and Northern California, one of the most active commercial real estate markets in the country. What specific fundamentals have attracted Vantis to the Pacific Northwest now?
Mark Conway (MC): Silicon Valley and the Puget Sound have some similarities. Both are rich with tech companies. Both have a robust mix of industries that seem to have kept the economies resilient in slower times. Clients in the Pacific Northwest are interested in looking at innovative ways to deliver space more efficiently, and Vantis does just that.
RW: With the world beginning to investigate how we return to the office, schools and the future of healthcare, now seemed like a great time to bring our vision to the Pacific Northwest.
How do you think the Pacific Northwest market compares to Northern California? Why?
RW: The challenges in implementing prefabrication into projects are very similar in the Pacific Northwest and the Bay Area. We want to help the region unlearn and rethink traditional methods of construction and understand how new methods can be more effective and efficient, especially when it comes to creating spaces that are adaptable as user needs change.
MC: Vantis is part of the One Workplace family of companies. We have sister companies in the Pacific Northwest already, as well as in Northern California, so we can hit the ground running for clients operating in either region or in both.
What lessons have you learned from your time in Northern California that you will apply to projects in the PNW?
MC: We work with clients from the beginning (conceptual space planning) all the way through construction including FF&E fit-outs. This gives us a unique end-to-end perspective that can drive value throughout the process for clients in the PNW.
The Pacific Northwest construction and commercial real estate industries have become increasingly competitive in recent years. What it is about Vantis’ business model that will make it competitive in this market?
RW: As a leader in understanding different methods of prefabrication and the integration of different approaches, we are a team member who architects, general contractors, and clients can count on to work through challenges often faced when trying new methods of construction. We want to help guide the process for more clarity and certainty to help all project teams succeed for their clients.
MC: We’re different from most specialty contractors. We are focused on prefabricated digital construction components that streamline the process, integrate well with contractors and design teams, and save owners money.
Does Vantis currently have any projects lined up in the region they would like to highlight? If so, why are these projects interesting to Vantis?
MC: We have several projects in preconstruction planning currently, and a project about to begin in Spokane. Due to confidentiality, we cannot name the clients at the moment, but some are clients we work with in the Bay Area as well.
Looking across the industry, what types of services are clients looking for when it comes to commercial interior construction. Why?
MC: The construction industry as a whole has been on a journey to reduce costs, streamline processes and drive more value to clients. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, the built environment is making rapid adjustments to accommodate the way real estate is designed and used. With our prefab digital component approach, Vantis is well positioned to deliver spaces that help keep people safer and at the same time bring costs down.
Heading into 2021 and beyond, what commercial interior trends do you see becoming particularly important?
RW: The last year has shed new light on how and what we may need to build for different vertical markets, including how we address workplace density, collaboration spaces and safe environments. If we consider what is known and the unknown about how occupants use spaces, we get a glimpse of a world that requires options, adaptability, the willingness to understand nothing is permanent. Those findings can free us to see the world in a new way, including how to build spaces that can adapt to the unknown when it arrives.